With its companion title, a playful romp in a please-touch-and-explore world.

PAT-A-CAKE

Moving on from baked goods, a diverse group of toddlers pat everything from an acorn to a puddle.

“Pat a kiwi. Pat a peach. / Pat a plump tomato. // Pat a pickle, / cold and bumpy. / Pat a brown potato.” Barrett’s verse scans with a pleasingly jaunty rhythm. Pham’s stylized cartoons are done in a muted color palette; eye-catching patterns on the clothing and in the backgrounds infuse the scenes with a lively energy. The last two double-page spreads skillfully bring the energy down as a pair of brown-skinned siblings pat Mommy, Dad and each other before patting a pillow and teddy at bedtime. The sister book, All Fall Down, has a longer, rhymed text but the same buoyant energy and equally diverse cast. On the first double-page spread, a Caucasian boy and a girl of African descent stack a tower of alphabet blocks and joyfully topple them over on the verso as the text exclaims, “ALL FALL DOWN!” This pattern is repeated as gravity gets the better of a trio of tykes constructing a dam in a stream, a highchair-confined girl building a mountain of mashed potatoes, and an Asian family enjoying a game of “Ring-Around-the-Rosie.” In both books, some parents may cringe at little ones climbing a tree and cavorting around a stream unsupervised and patting a caterpillar (some varieties are harmful to the touch) in the lighthearted scenes, but youngsters will recognize the exuberance represented here as their own.

With its companion title, a playful romp in a please-touch-and-explore world. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4358-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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 acceptable and sturdy addition to the Easter basket for baby bunnies deemed too young to handle Dorothy Kunhardt's more...

FIVE LITTLE BUNNIES

Following on the successful Five Little Pumpkins (2003), Yaccarino teams with Rabe for bunnies.

The five pastel bunnies are cute enough, and the rhymes are accurate, if somewhat wordy for toddlers. But without a clear one-to-one relationship between the words and the pictures, it is not always clear which bunny is speaking and what is being counted. The bunnies, identified as first, second, and so on, hop around the pages instead of staying in a consistent order as the rhyme implies. Naming them by color might have been a better choice, but that would mean abandoning the finger-play counting-rhyme formula. The children who show up to hunt the eggs are a multicultural cast of cartoonish figures with those in the background drawn as blue and green silhouettes. Though the text on the back cover invites children to count the eggs, there is no hint as to how many eggs they should find. Neither the verse nor the pictures provide counting assistance. The youngest children will not care about any of this; they will be content to point out the different colors of the bunnies and the patterns on the eggs.

An acceptable and sturdy addition to the Easter basket for baby bunnies deemed too young to handle Dorothy Kunhardt's more satisfying but fragile classic, Pat the Bunny. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-225339-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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