For preschoolers who enjoy language play, this opens up whole new opportunities for communication. (Picture book. 2-5)

READ REVIEW

SAY WHAT?

A small boy wonders and speculates what animals might mean by their traditional sounds.

The stylized animals shown using megaphones and paper-cup telephones on the cover reappear inside fully clothed, behaving in familiar human ways and using a wide variety of communications devices. A lion cub roars for more toys in the bathtub. A duckling quacks for a snack in front of an open refrigerator. A small snake hisses for a kiss from her mother. Simple rhyming couplets and a repeating chorus, “They say what they say / in their own silly way, / when they say what they say / with their sounds every day” carry the narrative, which concludes with the child’s “I do love you so!” to his mother. Full-bleed, double-page, digitally rendered illustrations in slightly muted retro colors use a flattened perspective to show a variety of parent/child interactions. These offer some imaginative activities, such as identifying cloud shapes and making hay angels, and include a range of settings. Perceptive observers will notice humorous details: a baby lamb with a pacifier, a bird birthday party with a cat piñata, an old-fashioned stand telephone in a booth.

For preschoolers who enjoy language play, this opens up whole new opportunities for communication. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-8694-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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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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