A sweet and inclusive look at the different ways that families are formed.

FAMILIES GROW

An exploration of the many ways, traditional and nontraditional, that families grow.

This bighearted board book launches with a note about how a family starts with a wish. From there, the story details a variety of ways to welcome a new baby into a family, holding reverent space for diverse experiences. A straightforward rhyming text puts an array of topics—from surrogacy to adoption—into a child-friendly context that will both validate young readers’ own experiences as well as provide context for children in families that may have formed in a way different from their own. With its uncomplicated sentences, the story includes just enough detail for young readers: “The belly might belong to Mom, / But also it may not. / Sometimes another special belly / Is the perfect spot.” An emphasis on how much babies are loved by their families once they become a part of them, regardless of the process, is underscored throughout the book. Family bonds shine brightly in cheerful, crisp-lined illustrations featuring bold colors and patterns. The illustrations focus on several interracial opposite-sex couples, but there’s also one interracial same-sex couple and one possible single-parent family. Parents, children, and babies are racially diverse. A glossary of terms at the close—including the words and phrases womb, birth parents, foster parent(s), forever parent(s), and more—provides an opportunity to continue the conversation.

A sweet and inclusive look at the different ways that families are formed. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22367-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers.

I LOVE YOU MORE, BABYSAUR

From the Punderland series

A board-book ode to parental love as old as the dinosaurs.

A line of text on the left of each spread reads like a dinosaur-themed valentine that a third grader might choose, with punishingly punny wordplay that incorporates dinosaur-related words. On the facing page a dinosaur pair—a baby and an adult—gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes against whimsical, pastel-hued prehistoric-ish backgrounds. In smaller print, in all caps, at the bottom of the left page is the scientific name for the dinosaur referenced by the text and picture followed by a helpful phonetic pronunciation guide. White-outlined footprints appear next to their names, though the white is sometimes difficult to see against the pastel pages. Ten of the best-known dinosaurs are included. Twisting the dinosaur names to fit the loving sentiments succeeds some of the time but more often results in tortured text, well beyond the understanding of the board book audience. The line accompanying two hugging velociraptors, for instance, is just confusing: “Wrap-TOR arms around me, / with you I’ll always stay.” Others are just plain clumsy: “I-wanna-GUANODON you kisses, / I truly just adore you.” Very young children, even those fascinated by dinosaurs, will not get it. Older dinosaur fans will be put off by the babyish format.

Not a great choice for the youngest dinosaur lovers. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2295-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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