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



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.


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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Yet another celebrity picture book that will steal sales from far, far better ones.


As the day draws to a close, a parent bear recalls those events shared with their child that gratified them, from observing hatching nestlings to the stars that come out at bedtime.

The scansion works and the emotions expressed are sweet, but that’s the limit of this book’s achievement. Mason is unable to create a coherent visual narrative that explicates and expands on the nonsensical text, which opens and closes with a parental address to “my fuzzy one” but in between is unclear as to who is expressing the syrupy sentiments. The sequence of sentence fragments “For special friends who made me giggle / and silly songs that made me wiggle. // For space to play, for shade to rest, / for secret spots we love the best” is illustrated in two double-page spreads with images of the young bear first playing with a young raccoon and second intently observing a caterpillar. Although that implies the young bear is speaking, the iteration of the refrain that ungrammatically brings the sequence to a close—“That’s what made me happy”—seems to bring the narration back to the parent bear. But really, giving up on sense seems to be the best one can expect from a book with a title that inartfully co-opts an adjective as a noun.

Yet another celebrity picture book that will steal sales from far, far better ones. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288789-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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