A happy book that should stand up to substantial toddler abuse.

POOKIE POP PLAYS HIDE-AND-SEEK

From the Tiny Tab series

The familiar game played with sturdy pull tabs.

Pookie Pop, a cartoon-style kitty, is looking for her animal friends. Using the same format as Cutie Pie Looks for the Easter Bunny (2015), Ho's cheerful, anthropomorphic animals appear when sturdy tabs are pulled. Young children will quickly chime in on the “found you” refrain as each friend is discovered. The animals included have no relationship in real life—being from every continent and looking more like stuffed animals than the real things. This is a vocabulary builder, with both common creatures and such exotic animals as rhino, toucan, and koala waiting to be found. The birthday party at the end is a happy surprise, though curiously, only six of the 12 animals found are shown gathered around the table. The rounded tabs are sandwiched between thick board pages. Toddlers firmly grasping the page may have trouble getting the tab to slide, but once they discover the reward of a cute creature hiding, they will learn to hold the page gently. The half-circle tabs are less prone to fraying than smaller, square-edged tabs.

A happy book that should stand up to substantial toddler abuse. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7600-1

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Specific visuals ground this sweet celebration of simple pleasures.

MY HEART FILLS WITH HAPPINESS

Black-haired, brown-skinned children describe many sources of happiness in this board book, dedicated by the author to “former Indian Residential School students.”

“My heart fills with happiness when… / I see the face of someone I love // I smell bannock baking in the oven / I sing.” Author Smith, who is Cree, Lakota, and Scottish-Canadian, infuses her simple text with the occasional detail that bespeaks her First Nations heritage even as she celebrates universal pleasures. In addition to the smell of bannock, the narrator delights in dancing, listening to stories, and drumming. Cree-Métis artist Flett introduces visual details that further underscore this heritage, as in the moccasins, shawl, and braids worn by the dancing child and the drum and drumsticks wielded by the adult and toddler who lovingly make music together. (The “I drum” spread is repeated immediately, possibly to emphasize its importance, a detail that may disorient readers expecting a different scene.) Although the narrative voice is consistent, the children depicted change, which readers will note by hairstyle, dress, and relative age. The bannock bakes in a modern kitchen, and most of the clothing is likewise Western, emphasizing that these Native Americans are contemporary children. There is nothing in the text that specifically identifies them by nation, however.

Specific visuals ground this sweet celebration of simple pleasures. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0957-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for...

HELLO LAMB

This simple board book invites little ones to greet baby farm animals (including frog, bunny, and bee) with their corresponding sounds.

The first double-page spread greets readers with a bright yellow smiling sun and the text “Hello, Sun. / Hello, Day. / Wake up, babies. / Time to play!” Each succeeding spread has a distinct, gently patterned background, with very brief text on the verso (“Hello Puppy! / Woof Woof”). Filling up the recto is a vibrant illustration of the baby animal’s face, wide eyed and smiling, outlined in black. The final spread presents the face of a cute baby with chalky brown-gray skin, bright black eyes, and short black hair: “Goo Goo.” Babies and toddlers will enjoy looking at the baby faces, animals and human, and repeating the sounds. A companion book, Goodnight Bear, has a similar pattern of text and illustrations, though the palette is suitably darker. The moon, surprisingly, has its eyes shut, and succeeding spreads depict an owlet, a baby bat, a baby hedgehog, and other familiar nocturnal baby animals, all wide-awake and smiling. The final spread depicts a cute baby with pale skin, blond hair, and closed eyes.

It’s not exactly original, but the execution, with familiar, appealing Cabrera illustrations, is attractive and perfect for the target audience. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0430-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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