One for the baby-shower lists.

DEAR BABY,

A LOVE LETTER TO LITTLE ONES

A love letter to the first five years of life.

Rosenthal previously partnered with her mother, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, to pen Dear Girl, (2017), her father, Jason Rosenthal, for Dear Boy, (2019), and now ventures out as a solo author in an ode to babies everywhere. The same epistolary format applies; here, the words of encouragement, advice, and just plain silliness are directed toward the tiniest of tots. Rosenthal encourages tenacity: “Dear Baby, / It’s okay to make mistakes. / Get back up and make your mark!” (A line of paint-smeared handprints connects spilled paint cans to a youngster happily creating art on the wall and some paper.) Rosenthal also encourages curiosity: Quite literally, the mandate “BE CURIOUS” stretches across the double-page spread, but the sentiment is also clear in a spread that depicts babies watching animals, playing with flowers, and chasing floating bubbles. “Dear Baby, / Explore, / explore, / explore. / There’s always more.” At times, the text hovers close to saccharine (“I hope your dreams come true. / Mine did when I met you”), but since the work is catering to doting caregivers, a little schmaltz is to be expected. Happily, Hatam’s stark-white skin tones from the previous books have warmed, and most babies throughout are painted in a variety of shades. Hatam also includes various adult caregivers to showcase many ages of loved ones. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 60.2% of actual size.)

One for the baby-shower lists. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-301272-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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