A delightfully clever read-aloud that will elicit noisy giggles.

THE ALPHABET FROM AAARRGH! TO ZZZZZ...

Sound effects span the alphabet in Ford’s comedic concept book.

This book describes each letter of the alphabet—and a few diagraphs, such as ch and th—using both familiar and unusual sound effects. A few sounds are words readers might find in the dictionary (clank, glitch), but many are invented; “E is for ERT!” for example—the sound that a car’s brakes make. In each case, the spelling emphasizes how a person might sound out the strange sound effect, helped along by chosen fonts: “SKLORSH!” the sound of wet sneakers, is depicted in a gooey, dripping typeface, while the “VVVIP!” of an alien vessel has an appropriately science-fictional look. Ford’s rhymes are rhythmic and fun to read aloud, and the inclusion of diagraphs makes this a good choice for emergent readers despite some challenging vocabulary. For instance, the book effectively highlights the difference in sounds between and th: “THOK! When you’re chopping a log and you give it a whock.” Each page features a humorous black-and-white cartoon from illustrator Peralta; their sharp contrast, precise linework, and vivid humor will grab young readers’ attention. The overall effect is reminiscent of Shel Silverstein’s works, offering adults a sense of nostalgia while sharing the book with kids.

A delightfully clever read-aloud that will elicit noisy giggles.

Pub Date: July 11, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-986152-20-2

Page Count: 38

Publisher: H Bar Press

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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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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While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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