As a vehicle for peddling Pete to babies, this book serves its purpose, but that’s the only one.

I LOVE PETE THE KITTY

From the Pete the Cat series

Dean’s heavy-lidded blue cat loves a lot of things.

In fact, Pete “loves EVERYTHING”: playing on the swing set and the slide, “riding his skateboard,” making a sand castle at the beach, “learning new things” at school, “playing guitar and singing songs,” reading “all kinds of books,” and eating sweets. (Nothing even remotely healthful is featured on his list of favorite foods.) He loves his friends and his family, and they love him too. Pete is more a phenomenon than a character, the couldn’t-care-less expression he permanently wears crucial to his brand appeal. Those people who love Pete will probably love this book, but the babies they share it with will be puzzled. No matter how much the text tells them Pete loves this or that, he looks bored in every endeavor except for singing, when his pink tongue sticking out gives him the semblance of a smile. While several of the other cat characters are similarly expressionless, enough have upturned kitty mouths to thoroughly confuse readers who have associated the smiling faces of their caregivers with love from their earliest days.

As a vehicle for peddling Pete to babies, this book serves its purpose, but that’s the only one. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-243581-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

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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