Totally fun, visually startling, and a paean to creative thinking.

TIME OUT!

An anthropomorphic pig stars in an adventure reminiscent of Max’s and Harold’s but with a Miró-like journey to outer space.

At the book’s opening, the porcine protagonist experiences a spectacular skateboard crash. This is the last straw for the second-person narrator, who orders a timeout indoors. Adult readers will note that the rebellious pig sulks in a room with two books, one titled Houdini and the other Book of Art. There is also a pencil that proves to be a potent tool. Just like Harold’s purple crayon or the magic brush of Chinese folklore, the pencil allows the piglet to draw a spaceship filled with treats such as pizza and popcorn. Pig and rocket blast off, along with the caged red bird seen in the background. Within the rocket, the two animals both contentedly sip ice cream sodas through long, striped, curvy straws. The sky outside the rocket looks like a Miró painting, with abstract stars and planets, but the next double-page spread also includes Matisse-inspired shapes. Perhaps the young artist has been busy absorbing imagery from the book on the table. While the unseen narrator continues to lecture (“I hope you’re really thinking about it”), the pig stands proudly on the moon, rainbow colors radiating out in triumph. When the narrator declares the timeout is over, the unnamed protagonist is back in place, quietly grinning. The terse text works wonderfully as a foil to the exuberant acrylic paintings, mostly executed in primary colors with bold black lines and shapes and a generous use of white space.

Totally fun, visually startling, and a paean to creative thinking. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16304-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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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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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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