A birthday party sparks a day of joyfulness for a young boy. Amidst the jollity, Daniel spies balloons, a snoozy cat, and a candle-bedecked cake, and hears the cacophony of fun that is synonymous with children’s parties. His favorite part of the festivities is the “Happy Birthday” song. This pleasant feeling of merriment and well-wishing extends itself beyond the party as Daniel spreads good cheer throughout the day. “Happy to you!” becomes his benediction as he bids good day to everyone (and thing) he meets. Nothing is excluded from his salutations: from the stuffed animals lying around his house to the wide world outside, Daniel hails the world with hearty joviality. When at last Daniel drifts off to sleep after his exciting afternoon, it’s with a sigh of pure contentment, secure in the knowledge of a day well and lovingly spent. Cohen (Digger Pig and the Turnip, not reviewed, etc.) adroitly conveys Daniel’s exuberance—a pinch of silliness and a dash of nonsense words add to toddler appeal. “Wind wiggled the trees, wiggledy, wiggledy, flippity leaves. And Mommy said, ‘Happy to you, flippity leaves.’ ‘Happy to you lippity leaves,’ Daniel said.” Litzinger’s bright pastel illustrations echo the liveliness of the tale. Cheerful domestic scenes comically depict Daniel and his mom capering about with abandoned bliss. The full-bleed paintings, laden with color, are warmly inviting. Like an unexpected gift, Cohen’s bubbly tale will brighten reader’s days. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-04229-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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Fun format; bland text.


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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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.


A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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