Something for Everyone

The Borrowers Collection, by Mary Norton, illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush; HMHCo, $24.99, 1004 pages, ages 8-11. 

The charming adventures of the miniature Clock family have captivated readers since the Eisenhower era, and this hefty volume presents five fantasy-filled adventures. The first story won the Carnegie medal in 1952, and today The Borrowers remains as magical and rewarding as ever. A captivating gift to share with first-timers and lifelong Borrowers fans.

Muddle & Mo, by Nikki Slade Robinson; Clarion Books, $14.99, 32 pages, ages 0-3. (available February 21, 2017)

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Originally published in New Zealand,this cuddly picture book by Nikki Slade Robinson  lands stateside in less than a month, and it’s worth putting on your wish list; this adorable story about a goat and a duck exploring what makes them different subtly teaches important life lessons like kindness, patience, and love.

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Did You Ever See? by Joanna Walsh; Tate, $16.95, 32 pages, ages 2-5.

Kids wonder about everything–why the sky is blue, what the smallest living creature is, and even what the inner workings of a television look like. Author-illustrator Joanna Walsh examines the world from a youngster’s point of view, and her oversized images of big eyes staring out at the world in bold stamps of color encourage imaginative exploration. Walsh’s jaunty text nicely coordinates with the retro-jam feel of the illustrations. Art lovers of all ages will find something to enjoy here.

I Love Mom, by Joanna Walsh and Judi Abbot; Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 2-5.

Joanna Walsh and Judi Abbot team up for their third children’s book, this time dedicated to celebrating moms. Like their previous collaborations (The Biggest Kiss; The Perfect Hug) I Love Mom is a snuggly, feel-good story aimed at very young children. Here, tiger cubs demonstrate all the wonderful things their mother does: transforming chairs into thrones, baking cakes, and making skinned knees better with a kiss and a hug.  Judi Abbot’s warm and inviting illustrations fill the oversize pages and delight the eye. 

Unfortunately, while the goal was to recreate the success of the duo’s previous read-alouds, this text feels disjointed and awkward: one page extols the mother tiger’s ability to create fantastic games, then the next page she’s packing up a messy box and trucking her charges someplace. (On my first read-through, I thought I had skipped a page.)  Rhymes such as “No one brings the sky closer to the seesaw” are strange as well. Also, the text goes back and forth between “me” and “we.” This could be confusing for young readers.  Fans of Walsh and Abbot will love it regardless, but readers new to the collection might do well to consider one of their earlier offerings.