All a-wag with charming tails.

LOVE TAILS

The many tails of dogs are celebrated in this ode to canine rear appendages.

“Every dog has a tail. // Every tail has a tale to tell. / Or smell.” So begins a tale of tails featuring dogs of varying breeds. Dachshunds, Dalmatians, pugs, and others are included as well as what appears to be mixed breeds. Sayegh describes these many tails with a focus on the unique qualities of each: “long,” “short and sweet,” “straight to the point,” “new,” “tried and true,” and more. All the dogs portrayed are cheerful canines (with the adorable detail of heart-shaped noses); there is nary a drooping tail to be seen, making this a very happy book. The dogs are often shown smelling one another’s bums, but this behavior is not explained. While it’s not quite accurate to assert that every time a dog “wiggles and wags” its tail it means, “I love you!” dog lovers will probably be willing to forgive this stretching of the truth in favor of admiring the many dogs presented and, of course, their lovely tails. Sayegh’s pups are gently stylized, and he incorporates patterns and textures into his collaged depictions. The Dalmatian’s spots have the look of marbled endpapers, a corgi’s brown fur looks like wood grain, and one poor pup’s protective lampshade collar looks like faded white clapboards.

All a-wag with charming tails. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-951836-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.

FIVE BLACK CATS

A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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