Unfortunately, the Hallmark sentiments in the primary text make this book feel generic and just transitorily cute.

I LOVE KISSES

Fifteen examples of animal affection, which looks not so different than the human kind.

Each two-page spread features a high-resolution photo of same-species animals, often presumably parent and child, expressing affection and a two-part text. The first part reads almost like a message in a Valentine's Day card: "I'm small and scared, but mom's kisses make me feel big and brave," says the grizzly bear cub as its mother gives it a nuzzle. This is supplemented by an interesting factlet, like the fact that a single giraffe mother takes care of a group of giraffe calves in a nursery while the other mothers forage. Koalas like to hug, one owl pecks another on the cheek, and the dolphins naturally touch snouts. There’s a fair amount of anthropomorphism on display in the primary text: cheetah cubs perk up their “sad or tired” mother by “kissing her”; a pair of rabbits “fight,” then “kiss and make up.” Though the secondary text sometimes explicates this, it is nevertheless both syrupy and misleading. The photos are bright and maximally adorable, occupying two-thirds of each spread, and the nuggets of animal fact are nice. Publishing simultaneously is the similarly themed and formatted I Love Hugs.

Unfortunately, the Hallmark sentiments in the primary text make this book feel generic and just transitorily cute. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60992-720-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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This ambitious, interactive exploration of color will be of particular appeal to dog lovers.

COLOR DOG

A chunky board book about colors features photographs of dogs and incorporates many interactive elements.

Even the front cover of this title is interactive. Pull a large red tab, and a bulldog’s head moves back and forth as he chews on the shoelace of a red tennis shoe. Inside, further interactive features, rhyming text, and illustrations featuring cute pups and their adorable antics await. For example, the orange pages offer a collage of pumpkins, autumn foliage, puppies, and a cat, reading: “Orange the patch of pumpkins, / Orange the autumn leaves, / Orange the frumpy, napping cat… / that I chase up a tree.” One of the pumpkins is a flap that conceals the face of a precious pup, and another, larger flap hides a pop-up tree branch on which an orange kitty perches. Other pages incorporate some more noxious surprises, such as: “Green the swamp I love to swim in, / Green the summer grass, / Green the color of the air… / when my dog food gives me gas.” Pull the tab here to trigger a large green cloud that emanates from the back end of a suitably embarrassed-looking basset hound.

This ambitious, interactive exploration of color will be of particular appeal to dog lovers. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4986-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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