A sweet but not saccharine charmer.

WITH ALL MY HEART, I LOVE YOU

A bevy of bouncing babies tumble across the board pages of this joyful paean to love.

As she did in I Will Love You Forever (2016) and Sweet Child of Mine (2014), Church reprises the theme of unconditional love and gentle assurance for new parents in this posthumous publication. From “Rise and shine! Let’s say hello” to “It’s time for bed, our day is through,” these carefree toddlers are all smiles. The five diaper-clad tots are racially diverse; gender is not identified, though the baby with the longest hair (an exuberant Afro) is also wearing a pink T-shirt. The first five pages feature just one baby per page. Each is accompanied by the same winsome smiling brown teddy bear that mimics the baby’s actions. No adult is shown in any of the pictures. The narrator could be an offstage adult or the voice of the children’s thoughts. Brief rhyming text describes the actions of the toddlers. A couple movements resemble toddler attempts at yoga postures and mirror the text: “Twirl and whirl, twist and bend, / Leaping, dancing with our friend.” Sturdy board pages and an optimistic view of baby behavior make this a good choice to tuck in with a gift for a new baby or to share with a toddler just mastering independent movement.

A sweet but not saccharine charmer. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-74620-4

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more