A spot-on depiction of sisterly love.

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POLKA DOTS FOR POPPY

Three girls help their baby sister get the clothing she covets.

In the opening scene, Mama tells her four daughters that they’ll go back-to-school shopping. Eldest sister Ava wants a princess dress, Isabelle wants a purple one, Charlie Ann has her heart set on a cowboy vest, and Poppy just says, “Polka Dots!” With the exception of Charlie Ann, who appears to be Asian, the family members seem to be white, and no other parent is mentioned or depicted. Were some or all of the girls adopted? Is Mama a single parent? We can’t be certain, but the casual depiction of a nontraditional family is notable. At the first stop, each of the sisters successfully finds just the right shoes for her ensemble, but, alas, there are no polka-dot shoes for Poppy. Three stores later, each sister has her desired outfit—except for Poppy, who isn’t seduced by Mama’s suggestion that “stripes can be very nice” and is left cold by her sisters’ encouragement. But when she falls asleep at night, the sisters are inspired to decorate white clothing with polka dots. Poppy is delighted the next morning, and Mama is surprised and only a little bit chagrined at the mess. Throughout, Schwartz’s signature cartoon style and cheery palette match the light mood of the text.

A spot-on depiction of sisterly love. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3431-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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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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