An empathetic, encouraging story for readers dealing with change.

A HOME UNDER THE STARS

Sometimes helping others is the path to finding what you need to feel whole.

Toby is reluctant to move to the city, where he’ll miss seeing the stars in the sky like he could before. His moms attempt to help him feel more comfortable in his new home with some DIY paper star cutouts, which Toby rejects in anger. While he’s lying sleepless without his stars, Toby is visited by a lost lion. Together, they travel through a dreamlike landscape searching for the missing stars. Along the way, they encounter a crying unicorn, a forgetful rabbit, and a lonely ram, among others. Toby and the animals are united in their uneasiness about living in the big city and encourage one another to remain hopeful. An encounter with a fierce dragon proves to be the perspective shift that Toby and the animals need to find their stars and the way home. The animals take their places in the sky as constellations; Toby realizes that his beloved stars are present even if he can’t see them in the city, and he helps his moms complete their paper decorations to adorn their new home. Messages of support and the importance of a positive mindset are extended with bright, painterly illustrations that brim with movement, shifts in relative size enhancing both emotional impact and fantastic feel. Toby and his moms are all characters of color; one mom presents Asian and the other, Black.

An empathetic, encouraging story for readers dealing with change. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63217-327-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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