Sweet and simple.

READ REVIEW

THE JAR OF HAPPINESS

A little girl loses her happiness...but just for a while.

Curly-haired brunette Meg has her own secret recipe for happiness. She puts a dab of this and a spoonful of that into a jar and carries it with her everywhere, trailed by her faithful cat. It's her jar of happiness. It's red, yellow, and "all the other best colors." She uses the jar to cheer up her glum friend Zoe and to bring a smile to her grandmother, who has been feeling under the weather. And Meg's little brother, Leon, who gets on her nerves sometimes, also gets the benefit of the happiness jar...sometimes. One day, Meg's jar goes missing; she can't find it anywhere. Zoe arrives to cheer her up, and Oma gives her a big hug and lots of tickles. Leon goes all out, dressing as a monster and performing for his sister; he says that thinking happy thoughts can scare away "gloomy feelings, bad smells and even monsters.” By the end of the day, Meg still hasn't found her jar, but she has found happiness and can sleep soundly. The final illustration puckishly shows the solution to the mystery of the missing jar of happiness. Burrows' gentle tale is gracefully told and well-pitched to a very young audience, with minimal text, clean compositions, and plenty of white space. Meg and her family are white, while Zoe has light-brown skin and straight, dark hair.

Sweet and simple. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84643-729-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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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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