Classy, beautiful, and developmentally appropriate—a winner.


From the TouchThinkLearn series

Sophisticated design and extra-thick pages invite handling of this entry in Deneux's TouchThinkLearn series.

The cover—a cheery yellow duck recessed in a pure white egg-shaped cutout—says, please touch! Each subsequent spread features a raised die-cut animal that fits neatly into the recessed shape on the right with details of that animal's habitat or behavior. The frog on verso fits into the lily pad–shaped cutout on recto, for instance. The cutouts in Homes, published simultaneously, mirror the raised images exactly, while in Baby Animals, the animal figures are typically smaller than the shapes on the opposite page. The name of each baby animal—tadpoles, a joey, chicks, cubs, puppies, and kitten—is set in large, boldface type, while more words associated with that animal are in smaller print, starting with the word for the adult animal and followed by words that describe its habitat and important characteristics. Finally, actions typical of the animal are in italics. Young children might be confused that both the turtle and crocodile are called hatchlings, but that is the appropriate scientific term. And yes, mother crocodiles really do carry their babies in their mouths, as depicted. Generous white space, tactile design, and rich vocabulary make this and its companion good conversation starters for babies in the one-word stage of language acquisition, and the addition of verbs extends their usefulness to toddlers beginning to form two-word sentences.

Classy, beautiful, and developmentally appropriate—a winner. (Board book. 9 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-4519-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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An unabashed love letter from mother.


From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers.


Animal parents declare their love for their offspring through rhymed puns and sentimental art.

The title sets the scene for what’s to come: The owl asks the owlet as they fly together, “WHOO loves you?”; the kangaroo and joey make each other “very HOPPY”; and the lioness and cub are a “PURRRFECT pair.” Most of the puns are both unimaginative and groanworthy, and they are likely to go over the heads of toddlers, who are not know for their wordplay abilities. The text is set in abcb quatrains split over two double-page spreads. On each spread, one couplet appears on the verso within a lightly decorated border on pastel pages. On the recto, a full-bleed portrait of the animal and baby appears in softly colored and cozy images. Hearts are prominent on every page, floating between the parent and baby as if it is necessary to show the love between each pair. Although these critters are depicted in mistily conceived natural habitats and are unclothed, they are human stand-ins through and through.

The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers. (Board book. 6 mos-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1374-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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