The second you see a puppy or kitten, that’s probably what you say. Aww, how adorable! Awww, you just want to cuddle it. Wow, it must be so soft and sweet. You want one now but awww, “This Book is Cute!” by Sarah Wassner Flynn might be a great temporary substitute.
It happened again: You were online, looking something up and oh, wow, there’s a meme of a puppy. And another with a kitten. And oooooh, a piglet, and soon, you’ve lost a half-hour looking at cuteness.
You can blame that on your brain.
Nearly 80 years ago, scientist Konrad Lorenz extensively studied what he called kinderschema. That’s a German word that basically explains how babies, with their big eyes, chubby cheeks, floppy limbs, and “roly-poly body,” nudge your brain into creating dopamine, a chemical that gives you those “make-you-melt feelings” when you see something cute. And it’s not just you: Children as young as three have been shown to prefer cuteness, and pictures of adorable puppies are proven to help adults improve their moods.
But looking at appealing little faces is more than just a great way to feel good. Cuteness is also big business: Think about those tiny dolls or trucks you played with once, or the anime characters you love. In Japan, construction barriers are sometimes made into cartoon adorableness, and you know Hello Kitty makes fans squeal. American sports teams and some businesses have mascots, museums often have delightful displays of miniature cuteness, and vacation destinations may be filled with cuteness overload. Even food can be oh-so-cute.
You can dress up in the latest (and cutest) fashions, or put them on your dog. Here, you’ll read about a “career in cute” and real jobs that have cuteness all over them. You’ll see how technology uses cute-science to appeal to users, the size of baby hippos at birth, how cute goes viral, how to get around in the sweetest of ways, and how you can do your best when popping precious in a picture.
Resistance, as it’s been said, is futile: Any time you see a video of a puppy or kitten online, you might as well just make yourself comfortable. You’re not going anywhere soon, except maybe to go find “This Book is Cute!”
What else can you say about something that’s absolutely filled with full-color pictures of adorableness? Only that this book is as easy as the internet is to get lost in, but more fun, since author Sarah Wassner Flynn also includes lots of real scientific information, trivia, and fun facts to get kids curious about biology, technology, animal care, commerce, and other cultures. Yes, indeed, this book is not merely a collection of cuddly cat snaps and doofy dogs – it’s also going to teach young readers.
Or older readers, of course, because while this book is meant for kids in middle-school and beyond, adults will find it just as easy to fall into. One look at “This Book is Cute!” and you’ll know it’s awwwwwwww-some.
Terri Schlichenmeyer developed her love for books at an early age and was reading by age 3. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with her two dogs and thousands of books.