Not your garden-variety sibling story despite a familiar theme.

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MARIGOLD & DAISY

Spring has sprung, and with it comes new beginnings and unexpected trials for two young snails.

New siblings can be an unfortunate tribulation, even in the buggy world of this brightly colored picture book. Life unfolds nicely for Marigold, a big-eyed young snail, until the birth of her sister, Daisy. No longer the center of attention, Marigold resents this little intrusion, who doesn’t seem nearly as cute as everyone thinks; instead, she ruins everything, even Marigold’s favorite toy. Disgusted and resentful, Marigold sets out to be alone…until she finds herself in a pickle. When Daisy turns up to help out her big sis, Marigold realizes maybe siblings aren’t so bad after all. Loose, watercolor-styled illustrations feature quirky yet lovable gastropods and insects, all endowed with big, expressive eyes, and a bug’s-eye view into a spring garden, complete with leafy green endpapers, which amplify the floral theme. While Marigold’s sophisticated vocabulary will prompt good discussions of words and their meanings, the lively speech balloons offer opportunities for humorous voice impressions for added read-aloud enjoyment. Good for new older siblings who will recognize Marigold’s frustration but not be too old to appreciate Daisy’s pluck.

Not your garden-variety sibling story despite a familiar theme. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2293-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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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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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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