A sweet work that promotes love and belonging.

READ REVIEW

WHO WILL YOU BE?

It takes both family and community support early on to encourage children to grow up to be their full authentic selves.

New life often sparks conversation from excited family around whom the expected child may look like in the family or what they may grow up to be. Pippins here explores how one African American family celebrates their newest addition. Addressing the newcomer, the narrator speculates about which qualities and enthusiasms demonstrated by loved ones the babe might share. This heartfelt narrative speaks to everyday experiences, whether a family get-together, camping, or baking. Pippins goes a step beyond family to layer this narrative with the important role community plays in the black experience. From wondering whether the child will be like family members, such as “your cousin Curlena [who] is loud and joyful,” the narrator moves on to wonder if the child will “find beauty in all that you see, like Ms. Jess” or “be compassionate, like Alessandra.” The striking, posterlike pictures are filled with bold characters engaging in both activism and quiet contemplation in addition to homey activities. Characters are all different shades of brown, reinforcing a sense of vibrant diversity (though there is no recognizable LGBTQ or disability representation here). Older kids will relate to hearing adults talk about whom they resemble, whether in appearance or personality.

A sweet work that promotes love and belonging. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4948-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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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