A super story for anyone who wants to be a superhero.

I JUST WANT TO BE SUPER!

After gaining superpowers, Nino discovers what it really means to be super.

When Nino tries on a superhero mask, he gains superpowers, suddenly soaring above the kitchen floor. When he tries to show Papa, he is told to put away his dishes. Nino uses his powers to put them away “SUPER style,” even though he doesn’t want to. And before he can use his superpowers to make art with his sister, Mama tells him to get dressed. “So he SHAZAMMED into his shirt and shorts.” Throughout the day, Nino wants to use his powers for fun, but someone always diverts him. Finally, Nino loses his temper at the park because his father won’t let him use his powers to throw a huge rock. When Nino faces a monster that has captured his cat, he discovers other ways to be super. Nino and his superpowers capture a child’s energy and wild imagination even as his family demonstrates patience and reasonable boundary-setting. Nino’s adventure, which kids can read as literal or imaginary as they will, shows that there are many different ways to be super, like showing empathy, helping others, making new friends, and being gentle. Nino’s character will resonate with kids, capturing a child’s perspective and emotions well. The appealing illustrations are fun and bold, exuding the super energy of the text, and present the whole family with brown skin and straight, black hair.

A super story for anyone who wants to be a superhero. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-89802-193-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CrackBoom! Books

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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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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