While it’s nothing out of the ordinary, toddlers will gravitate to all the bells and whistles in this offering.

NOISY FIRST WORDS

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Little fingers can press buttons to hear various sounds, touch tactile elements, and see photos of everyday objects.

Each double-page spread highlights a different category of noisemaker, including animals, vehicles, and foodstuffs. The recto features a large photo of an animal or object that includes an embedded fabric swatch. When pressed, a button under the fabric activates a battery-operated sound chip safely screwed into the back of the book. Little digits have to hit the button just right to activate the noisemaker and may require adult help. On the toy-themed page, an image of a drum includes a vinyl patch, and when pressed, an adult voice says the word “drum” followed by a recording of a drum being played. The verso features brightly colored panels with clear, captioned photos of blocks, a white doll, a kite, and such. The text is standard fare, focusing on encouraging youngsters to interact with the book: “Touch the apple to hear it crunch!” Some of the tactile elements are more satisfying than others; the mewing kitten’s fur is nice and soft, but the duck’s feathers are difficult to “ruffle” as the text prompts. The book ends with a “Bedtime” spread complete with moon, pajamas, clock, and a teddy bear to touch, make snore, and play a music-box lullaby.

While it’s nothing out of the ordinary, toddlers will gravitate to all the bells and whistles in this offering. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-680105-41-4

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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