Just Like You; No Matter What

Emma Dodd, Author . Dutton $10.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-525-47933-8 ISBN 978-0-525-47932-1

A child's adoration of a parent, a parent's unshakeable affection for his or her child: these timeless themes are the subjects of Dodd's (the Amazing Baby board books) made-for-snuggling, square-format series. The text is mediocre, as in this passage from No Matter What : “Sometimes you're happy./ Sometimes you're sad./ Sometimes you're good./ Sometimes you're bad.../ But no matter what you say or do, it makes no difference.../ I love you!” Instead, young children (and parents) will find pleasure in the large-scale art. Most of the fun and the cozy feelings these books promote come from watching the animal characters frolic or cuddle in occasionally forbidding habitats—Just Like You stars a bear and cub in a northern wilderness, while No Matter What visits an elephant and baby in the sun-baked savanna. The animals (and they are not gender-specific) have an endearing streamlined chunkiness that brings to mind tub toys, and Dodd deftly conjures up the disparate landscapes with minimal detailing and evocative texturing. She's especially good at conveying the beauty and expanse of African grasslands—a scene of rain falling in thin gray stripes looks almost like a Japanese textile; in another spread, the sky looms so near that the sun practically touches the horizon. These are worth a close look. Ages 1-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/11/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
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