A royal serving of fun for the new-baby shelf.

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, KING BABY

A TERRIBLE TRUE STORY

A big sister’s nose is out of joint when her baby brother arrives and makes a royal mess of what she regarded as her once-ideal life.

First-person text establishes “the most beautifulest, cleverest, ever-so-kindest Princess with long, flowing wondrous hair” as the narrator of this new-baby story. Illustrations amplify the flowery text’s humor by depicting the white girl with bobbed hair and wearing a pair of yellow tights on her head to emulate Rapunzel-like locks. After King Baby, who is also white though initially hairless, arrives, parallel series of panel illustrations, one rendered in the cartoon style of the main book, the other in a naïve style that suggests a child’s hand, detail the ways that the baby disrupts her happy life with his pooping, burping, attention-hogging ways. The worst arrives with his first birthday, which she decides to interrupt “disguised as a Mysterious Fairy, with a magic wand, a big very magical nose, and a cunning plan….” But before she can put her plan into action, the baby is overwhelmed by the party guests’ singing and attention and begins to cry. Who can soothe him? Only his big sister, of course. She’s now a “Kind Fairy [whose] loveliness had grown even stronger (like a sparkling mountain stream).” And, yes, following this act of sisterly kindness, “They Lived Happily Ever After—THE END….”

A royal serving of fun for the new-baby shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9793-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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