An exuberant celebration of family.

READ REVIEW

NOW THAT I'M HERE

A mixed-race child reflects on how much better Mom's and Dad’s lives are “now that I’m here.”

The irrepressible (“HA! HA! HA!”) narrator of this story—a dark-haired, pink-skinned, wide-eyed child—paints a vivid picture of daily life then and now. Readers will appreciate the stark contrasts drawn in two-page spreads (see: Mom and Dad sleeping peacefully with a rotund gray pug; now see: Mom, Dad, and dog fighting for space in a rumpled bed awash with toys, a gleeful child draped over them all). Meshon’s use of color, juxtaposing blues and greens for life then and reds and oranges for life now, further conveys the drastic changes wrought by the child. Bold, hand-lettered, capitalized text adds clarity and humor. It doesn’t always work: It may not be entirely clear to readers why Mom and Dad no longer buy lunch (but their bento boxes do look “way better”!), and some of the pre-child pages still feel a bit busy. The chaotic love and joy of this family shine through, though, and the depiction of the family’s blended culture is natural and seamless. Dad, with pale skin, light brown hair, and his croissant, espresso, and spaghetti, reads as white; Mom, with light skin, black hair, and her natto, matcha, and ramen, appears to be Japanese.

An exuberant celebration of family. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2936-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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