Look elsewhere for board books that don’t seek to confine children to stereotypes at the toddler stage.

I LOVE MY ROBOT

From the Love Meez series

A little boy celebrates his toy robot.

For readers named Henry whose favorite snuggle toys are robots, this may be the perfect board book—or it may just be another cloying offering in Church's Love Meez series. In rhyming first-person text, Henry, a precocious, white toddler with a mop of reddish-brown hair, describes his robot friend and the imaginary adventures they have together. The first page features a wheel to rotate with rainbow dots on the recto and coppery stars on the verso that glimmer as the wheel turns. A mirror on the next double-page spread lets children “see” themselves in the book. Tiny, tearable flaps hide the sounds Robot makes as he falls asleep. Irregular syllable counts make the rhyming text awkward to read aloud. Crucially, the book loses its toddler voice when the narrator says, “Although he's not a person, / Robot's my special friend, / The fun and games we have together / I know will never end.” I Love My Bunny, published simultaneously, follows the same format, with soft-touch bunny tail, scratch-and-sniff cookies, glittery bubbles, and a soft swatch of blanket on the last page. Both reinforce gender stereotypes: boys blast off with robot adventures, and girls host tea parties.

Look elsewhere for board books that don’t seek to confine children to stereotypes at the toddler stage. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-83593-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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