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I Am Not Scared

Anna Kang, illus. by Christopher Weyant. Two Lions, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5039-3745-1

The bearish purple and gold stars of You Are (Not) Small and That’s (Not) Mine confront the terrors of a roller-coaster in their third picture book. Tiny riders can be spotted flying off the rails in the background, but in line, the animals accuse each other of being scared while compiling a list of truly scary things: “A pan of fried ants! An alien with pink eyes and furry teeth!” But as the animals face the Loop of Doom head on—with a “scary” snake riding with them, no less—Kang and Weyant’s message couldn’t be clearer: a little fright can be a lot of fun. Ages 3–7. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Hattie Peck: The Journey Home

Emma Levey. Sky Pony, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5107-1390-1

In 2016’s Hattie Peck, the eponymous hen, unable to lay eggs of her own, “braved the elements rescuing abandoned eggs around the world.” Now Hattie lives happily and chaotically with a diverse brood that includes penguins, turtles, ostriches, owls, flamingoes, and snakes. When the time comes for her young ones to “fly the nest,” she again travels far and wide to deliver her “precious little hatchlings” to various locales, even parachuting into Manhattan. Levey captures Hattie’s devotion to her family with tenderness and humor in a tale touching on themes of adoption, unconditional love, and the sturdy bonds of family. Ages 3–6. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Say Hello, Sophie!

Rosemary Wells. Viking, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-101-99925-7

It’s a situation virtually any parent can identify with: Sophie the mouse won’t say “hello” or “thank you” in social situations where the words are called for. As in Sophie’s previous outings (Use Your Words, Sophie!, among others), Wells shows an uncanny understanding of what Sophie is thinking and feeling (“It was just too embarrassing for Sophie to say those grown-up words”). And once again it’s Granny who swoops in with a sly approach: a conveniently timed “toothache” forces Sophie to take the lead at Zeke’s Palace of Ice Cream. It’s another spot-on portrait of family life, with some very real solutions for frustrated parents and bashful kids. Up to age 3. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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How to Raise a Mom

Jean Reagan, illus. by Lee Wildish. Knopf, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-553-53829-8

Following How to Babysit a Grandma and other titles, Reagan and Wildish introduce two brown-haired siblings who offer tips on raising a “happy, healthy mom.” The humorous role reversals of the previous books are once again on full display: the children help their mother get dressed in the morning (the “perfect” outfit involves mismatched shoes, socks on hands, and no fewer than six hair bows) and “Surprise her with a snack and toy” when she starts to get cranky in a long grocery store line. Loving and caring work both ways, this duo makes clear. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jamie Weiss Chilton, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Bright Group. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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When I Carried You in My Belly

Thrity Umrigar, illus. by Ziyue Chen. Running Press, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7624-6058-8

In her first picture book, adult author Umrigar suggests that a mother’s gifts to her child go far beyond genetics. Alternating between scenes of the pregnant mother and her young daughter, Chen’s images exude warmth and intimacy while helping to establish the book’s cause-and-effect structure: “When I carried you in my belly,/ Grandpa baked a chocolate cake each week.... And that is why you became... the sweetest girl that I know.” Umrigar’s story celebrates a mother’s love, her daughter’s individuality, and the contributions of extended family. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Daniel Greenberg, Levine Greenberg Rostan. Illustrator’s agent: Mela Bolinao, MB Artists. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 02/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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I Promise

David McPhail. Little, Brown, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-29787-5

When Baby Bear asks Mother Bear to sing to him, she promises that she will—later—which leads into a contemplative conversation of what promises mean. As the bears make their way through a forest and meadow on their way back to their den, Mother Bear explains that there are some things she can’t promise, such as that Baby Bear will always be happy. (“Your happiness will depend mostly on you,” she says. “But I will do everything I can to help.”) McPhail’s lush naturescapes provide an expansive backdrop for the bears’ intimate discussions and tender moments, which will be instantly recognizable to parents and children alike. Ages 4–8. Agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Mommies Are Amazing

Meredith Costain, illus. by Polona Lovsin. Holt, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62779-651-4

It’s all about moms—feline ones—in this playful companion to the dog-centric Daddies Are Awesome. Lovsin’s handsome illustrations capture the distinctive mannerisms of more than a dozen cat families. “Mommies are clever./ They know when you’re sad./ They’ll hug you and kiss you/ when you’re feeling bad,” writes Costain in a pair of scenes; in one, a Maine coon cat envelops its child, and a calico mother licks her kitten in the other. Animal-loving children will revel in the careful detail Lovsin brings to her feline portraits, while mothers will appreciate the underlying moms-can-do-it-all message. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 02/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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I Will Love You

Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illus. by Lisa Anchin. Cartwheel, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-80310-6

A mother describes her boundless love for her daughter in lullabylike verse. The mother, who is white, and her child, who has brown skin, appear in a mix of fantastical and everyday scenes—soaring on a fluffy cloud “airplane,” exploring the outdoors, and dancing around a fire on the beach. Capucilli’s verse can get a bit grandiose at times (“I will love you like the velvet-green hill loves its trees./ Like warm, misty shadows calling, ‘Nestle with me’ ”) but Anchin’s warm images and the strong mother-daughter focus make this a fine pick for adoptive parents, single moms, and other familial setups. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Liza Voges, Eden Street Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Mommy Loves You!

Helen Foster James, illus. by Petra Brown. Sleeping Bear, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58536-941-6

In a companion to Grandma Loves You!, a mother rabbit and child frolic in a meadow as the mother shares assurances of unconditional love: “My heart’s full of love/ that blossoms and grows/ from your little nose/ to those teensy toes.” In keeping with the sentimental tone of James’s verse, Brown offers a series of brightly lit, bucolic scenes that show the rabbits sharing tender moments together (cuddling, sniffing pink spring flowers), as well as observing and interacting with other animals that include a mole, birds, and butterflies. Best for families with a high tolerance for the sugary sweet. Up to age 4. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 02/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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