THE BUG COLLECTOR

Together, George and Grandad figure out the best way to enjoy bugs.

George is a blond, white child who excitedly accompanies white-bearded Grandad on a trip to the Museum of Wildlife. The big-eyed, cartoony characters move quickly past large-animal displays to Grandad’s favorite room, which is crowded with framed specimens of “creatures much smaller and stranger, and Grandad loved them.” George returns home, dreaming of all kinds of bugs, and sets off the next day to find bugs and collect them. Comical scenes depict him failing at early attempts, but he finally becomes a “master bug catcher,” storing all manner of live bugs in glass containers with holes in the lids. Oddly, the contraption used for grabbing a butterfly looks lethal despite George’s self-admonishment of “CAREFULLY!” In what seems to be a very short time, George admires his specimens—stored in his treehouse—then goes home to dinner, noticing as he does that something is off in his garden. Next day, Grandad confirms George’s realization that all the bugs are gone from the now-sick garden. There ensues a double-page spread of lecturing from Grandad, after which George sadly releases the bugs. Grandad redeems both characters with a suggestion that eventually creates something far better than the bug room at the museum. The final, joyous double-page spread—which includes kids of varying skin tones—makes the final sentence as unnecessary as swatting a long-dead fly.

Cute art but buggy text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-9634-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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