The endearing portrayal of a young boy’s relationship with his grandfather makes for a warm, intergenerational story.

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THE BAGEL KING

A minor accident temporarily alters a weekly Sunday-morning–breakfast ritual.

On this particular Sunday, Eli begins to worry when his grandfather is unusually late to arrive with the weekly bagels. Then Zaida’s familiar Knock! Knock! at the door with a bag filled with “Warm. / Chewy. / Salty. / Bagels” is replaced with a phone call. Vexed and bagel-less, Zaida tells Eli he has slipped on some “schmutz” at the store and has hurt “his tuches.” The doctor orders rest at home for two weeks, the bagel-shaped pillow he holds out to Zaida visually informing readers who don’t know Yiddish what body part has been hurt. The first week passes with Eli bringing chicken soup, Zaida’s neighboring elderly gents visiting, and everyone lamenting that a Sunday without bagels is just another day. By Saturday night Eli develops a plan, makes a list, and succeeds in surprising Zaida and friends with—what else—bagels. Pleased and proud, Zaida declares Eli is “the Bagel King,” once again restoring the best thing about Sunday—“that is, except for Zaida.” Watercolors in soft hues against ample white space illustrate this gently diverse neighborhood and cast of characters; Eli, Zaida, and the rest of the family are white, but neighbors and the doctor have brown skin. Yiddish words and phrases, translated in a brief glossary before the title page, give flavor to Zaida’s aged Jewish generation.

The endearing portrayal of a young boy’s relationship with his grandfather makes for a warm, intergenerational story. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77138-574-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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