Serviceable for as long as it lasts.


From the Touch and Explore series

Shopping for a pet? This busy board book introduces to toddlers the common characteristics of nine household pets.

A cat and a dog each occupy a double-page spread, with the verso page divided into four squares of illustrated information about the pet’s babies, diet, and toileting needs. A fourth square that explains the animals’ space needs includes a flap with further information hidden behind it. A bird also warrants a double-page spread, with the verso providing generic information and a canary used as a specific example on the recto page. A guinea pig, hamster, fish, turtle, mouse, and rabbit are each described on just one page with factual information in a relatively large font. Each animal’s depiction includes a tactile element with varying degrees of success. For example, the shiny scales of the fish are described, but, upending expectations, the fish pictured is not shiny, and the canary’s feathers look and feel more like fur. Safari (written by Stéphanie Babin, illustrated by Deneux, and published simultaneously) follows the same format to highlight animals of an African savanna: lion, baboon, elephant, zebra, crocodile, and giraffe. Both volumes end with a summary page that mentions additional, related animals. The tactile patches will be the primary draw for young children. Unfortunately, they probably won’t survive the rough touch of toddler fingers, and the bindings are far from sturdy.

Serviceable for as long as it lasts. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-2-7459-8179-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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


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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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.


The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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