- Age Range: 4 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Lexile Measure: 380 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (March 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807556009
- ISBN-13: 978-0807556009
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Next to You: A Book of Adorableness Hardcover – March 1, 2016
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Pass on by that copy of On the Day You Were Born and tuck this into a shower gift instead." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April 1, 2016
"Houran's irreverent tone and some clever details like an opening page where gift-givers can write the name of their favorite child, 'who is just the cutest,' get the job done." Publishers Weekly, December 11, 2015
"A refreshing alternative to hypersentimental entries in the 'I love you more than anything!' genre: sincere without being goopy." Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2015
About the Author
Lori Haskins Houran has been writing and editing children's books since 1992. She currently lives in Florida with her two book-loving sons, and they spend summers in Lori's home state of Maine. Sydney Hanson started drawing at an early age. She is an experienced 2-D and 3-D production artist and has worked for Nickelodeon and Disney Interactive. She lives in Minnesota.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Showing 1-8 of 16 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
A narrator addressing a child sets the tone at the start. That tiny border collie puppy with the bow around its next and a little lamb toy (nice touch)? It’s only “kind of cute”. The yawning tiger cub or round-tailed bunny? “Whatever”. Honestly, the person being addressed wipes the floor with the competition. Those animals used to be really cute. “Until you came along. Now? Sorta so-so”. The narrator’s casual attitude is swiftly called into question, however, when they see a newborn giraffe for the first time. Seeing the giraffe chasing a butterfly, they’re almost persuaded that the giraffe is cuter but, “No! NO WAY! They are NOT as adorable as you. Not NEARLY.” Whew! A final shot of some of the animals in a cuddly pile ends with the narrator saying that none of them are as cute as you, “And you know what? I’m happy to be . . . next to you.” Aw.
Okay. So let’s talk audience here. When a picture book is talking about how cute someone is, that’s usually a tip-off that kids aren’t actually the focus. Instead, this is probably a book written with the hopes of becoming a baby shower staple. Picture books for expectant mothers are big business (how else to explain the inexplicable yet continual sales of “Love You Forever”?) so each season we see a couple titles make a play for the hearts and minds of incipient parents everywhere. Few succeed in the long run. What distinguishes “Next to You” from the pack is that it manages to not merely be a new baby book. Houran has somehow or other managed to write something that has appeal to a certain brand of snarky new parent (a common animal too often ignored by the picture book market) AND to actual children as well. This book is self-aware. A saving grace.
The text gets you pretty much from the first sentence onward. “Next to you, the softest puppy in the world is only kind of cute.” As a librarian I was intrigued but I wasn’t sold. Not until we got to the squirrel. That was the moment when I felt like Houran was making a distinct comment about those of us that waste countless hours watching cute animal videos on YouTube. “A squirrel eating a doughnut with his tiny hands? Adorable, sure. But next to you? Meh. Just OK.” The mix of “tiny hands” and “meh” is noteworthy. I know this sounds a little odd, but that two-page spread is the first true indication that you’re dealing with a picture book is a slick sense of humor. After all, that opening line might just be a fluke. But there is no denying how funny squirrels with itty-bitty widdle hands are, particularly when combined with the all-encompassing and supremely uninterested, “meh”. When the book stops for a moment to goggle at the shockingly cute giraffe, that pause is fascinating. I mean, how do you get a plot out of a book where all the narrator is saying is how cute various animals are? Houran must have also had a blast trying to conjure up all the different forms of cuteness out there? At the same time, take some care to notice that these animals are never in compromising positions. A pig may occasionally wear a sweater but nothing here is considered cute because it’s having its dignity taken away.
It’s a lucky editor that gets a manuscript like this one. Imagine knowing that the artist you acquired would have to excel in the art of "cute". This editor undoubtedly had to consider a wide swath of artists adept at big eyes and tiny bodies. In the end, the selection fell to first time picture book illustrator Sydney Hanson. Trained in animation and character design, Hanson’s Tumblr page is awash in a sea of sweetness. More details and intricate than the characters found in this book, Hanson is adept at not simply rendering cute the horrible (the big-eyed tarantula is my favorite) but making it clear that these characters have personalities too. The book doesn’t give away Hanson’s medium, so this might all be done on a computer for all I know. That said, it looks like colored pencils. For the art to be effective there has to be a certain level of fuzziness to it. Colored pencils provide that virtual fuzz. My two-year-old son has taken to hugging cute characters in books when he sees them. “Next to You”, thanks to Hanson’s techniques, is now infinitely huggable.
I never thought I’d say this, but I think this book would actually make a good readaloud to a large group. It would take some practice. You’d really have to get your cadences down. But with the right inflection this could actually work for a bunch of kids. It might even work particularly well for those of the jaded variety. The same kinds of kids that get hornswaggled by “Guess Again” by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex would find themselves flummoxed by this book. Few can turn pages without thinking, “Where is this going?” An oddity of a book, but a good one to know about. Don’t let the big blue kitten eyes on the cover fool you. There’s a lot to love between these pages. It's a book that upsets expectations for adults but still manages to be fun for kids. And if you happen to want to give it to a new parent, I’m not gonna stop you. Not one little bit.
For ages 4 and up.
I do love the many sentimental books out there that highlight the love parents have for their children, but this one is different. It is sweet but has a very real "voice" and some zingy (almost sarcastic) humor. Page by page we are shown super adorable baby animals doing super adorable things. Each time, there is a description, cuter than the last and then reassurance that- nope- still not as cute as you!
To give you a sense of the rhythm of the story, one part reads, "A newborn giraffe- Oh, wait. Hang on. I didn't realize newborn giraffes were SO. UNBELIEVABLY. SWEET. I mean, have you seen one? Awww."
Highly recommended- especially for the millennials (who I feel will most appreciate the humor). Great for baby showers, new babies, and those first couple of birthdays where parents are still looking to build their library.