Will young readers be able to get enough of this book? NO! (Picture book. 2-5)

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SMASHY TOWN

The cure for anyone suffering from insufficient amounts of smashing and crashing.

Mr. Gilly hasn’t missed a beat in the intervening 21 years between his debut in Trashy Town (1999) and this newest venture. Now, instead of driving the garbage truck, Mr. Gilly is “a demolition man.” Some old buildings are due to come down, so as two pigeons watch, the rhyming work chant gets underway. “GO! / Swing the ball, hit the wall! / SMASH, SMASH, SMASH! / Swing the ball, hit the wall! / CRASH, CRASH, CRASH!” Brick, wood, glass, and stone must all give way when they encounter Mr. Gilly’s wrecking ball. After that, Mr. Gilly maneuvers a bulldozer and cleans up his mess. Fans of his previous outing will find that the format of this book closely mirrors that of its predecessor. Not that they’ll mind. Yaccarino manages to perfectly emulate his previous combination of retro shapes alongside bold, flat colors. The simplicity of the art and jaunty read-aloud potential of the text guarantees this both a lapsit success and a storytime favorite. Mr. Gilly presents white while his fellow citizens and construction workers display an array of different skin tones.

Will young readers be able to get enough of this book? NO! (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-291037-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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