Just in time for Grandparents’ Day.

READ REVIEW

BAKING DAY AT GRANDMA'S

A rollicking, rhyming salute to the grandmother-grandchild bond.

Three independent, bundled-up young bears set off across the snow and past the pond for Grandma’s cottage, all smiles, as “It’s baking day at Grandma’s!” Everything at Grandma’s house—from the fire and old-fashioned stove and Victrola to her pink shawl and the woodsy cabin decor—points to coziness and love, and the ursine facial expressions reflect that. Though the adding of ingredients isn’t shown, Grandma’s role in the baking of the cake is limited to reading the recipe, and she even has aprons for each of the grandkids (though in one spread, they are inexplicably missing). While the cake is baking, there’s hot chocolate to drink and frosty windows to draw on. “Old-time music, soft and sweet, / Skippy notes and tapping feet. / Learning songs that Grandma sings— / When the kitchen timer rings!” But this cake isn’t for eating; the siblings carefully decorate and wrap each piece as gifts. As darkness falls, the children bundle back up, share more hugs with Grandma and are off under the full moon for home, basket full of treats in their sled. Christopher Denise’s Photoshop illustrations are a mix of cartoony characters (though they are more real-looking than most anthropomorphized bears) and realistic settings, especially the snowy winter scenes between home and Grandma’s.

Just in time for Grandparents’ Day. (recipe) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-24244-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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