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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something...

FLIGHT SCHOOL

From the Flight School series

A small round penguin with lofty aspirations finds success of a sort in a sweet, if slight, appreciation of the resourcefulness of teachers.

The sign near a cluster of wooden pilings in the middle of the water reads “FLIGHT SCHOOL / WE TEACH BIRDS TO FLY.” “I was hatched to fly,” announces Penguin upon his arrival from the South Pole. “I have the soul of an eagle,” he assures the gently dubious Teacher. “Penguin and the other birdies practiced for weeks,” but he succeeds only in plunging into the ocean—not terribly gracefully. He is ready to give up when a solution devised by Teacher and Flamingo has Penguin flying, if only for a few moments, and his happiness at this one-time achievement is lasting. Judge’s edge-to-edge watercolor-and-pencil art is lively and amusing. Her various sea and shore birds—gulls, a pelican, a heron and a small owl among them—and their fledglings are just a little scruffy, and they are exaggeratedly, expressively funny in their anthropomorphic roles as teachers and students. Background shades of warm yellow, sea blue and green, and brown sand let the friendly, silly faces and bodies of the birds take center stage.

Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something so far out of reach. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-14424-8177-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more