cover image Little Poems for Tiny Ears

Little Poems for Tiny Ears

Lin Oliver, illus. by Tomie dePaola. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-16605-1

Twenty-three short poems written in the first-person viewpoints of infants and toddlers muse on the small discoveries and quietly joyful moments that are part of early childhood. Among them: learning to make new sounds; discovering one’s toes, bellybutton, mouth, and nose (“My tongue is pink/ And wet, I think./ In and out it goes./ It’s in my mouth/ A little south/ Of where you’ll find my nose”); cozying up to a parent; and making messes (“Watch me scoot across the floor./ I’m heading for the kitchen drawer/ To knock the pots and pans around/ And throw the dish towels on the ground”). In his distinctively serene illustrations, dePaola portrays children with rounded faces and smiling eyes as they navigate their environments and engage in familiar activities. Each scene is encapsulated within a tidy box, contributing to the overall ambiance of security and comfort, while creating the impression of framed photographs of milestone moments. An ethnically diverse cast of children and the ubiquity of delights that range from beloved pets to a father’s scratchy beard give this warmhearted collection broad appeal. Up to age 2. (Feb.)