Jenny's 2010 Picks
Mommy & Daddy Hugs & Kisses Boxed Set
by Anne Gutman, illus. by Georg Hallensleben
This quartet of board books, housed in a sturdy box (with a "frame" on each side for a photo of your little one), celebrates the love between parent and child: Daddy Cuddles; Mommy Loves; Daddy Kisses; and Mommy Hugs. (All were published in separate board book editions in 2003.) In addition to the themes of family and affection, a bit of science and math comes through, too. For instance, as “Daddy penguin cuddles his chick,” a picture shows the chick nestled between his father’s feet in Daddy Cuddles, demonstrating the way that male penguins care for their young in the wild. Just as toddlers learn that baby penguins are called “chicks,” they also discover that baby koalas are called "joeys" (“Daddy koala cuddles his joey”). And if your toddler then opens up Mommy Loves, he or she will see that kangaroos, too, give birth to joeys (“Mommy kangaroo loves her joey”). Mommy Loves also delivers a subtle counting lesson, as the book moves from one joey to two polar bear cubs to three lion cubs (with the painted numeral in the corner). Thick bold outlines and colorful energetic brushstrokes suggest the creatures' habitat while keeping the focus on the animal parent and its progeny. All four books offer a finale of human fathers and mothers cuddling, kissing or snuggling their child. A loving message all year round.