A lovely “Going-to-Bed Book” indeed.

LENA'S SLEEP SHEEP

A GOING-TO-BED BOOK

When Lena’s parents tuck her into bed, she inadvertently unleashes a bit of ovine chaos by asking them to leave the curtains open so she can see the full moon.

Lena loves the moon, and the picture hanging above her bed suggests that she loves sheep, too. When her parents leave her bedroom, she calls for the sheep to come out so she can count them and lull herself to sleep. They are afraid of the moon, though, and think it looks like a monster that is “ready for a sheep snack.” Even though she’s sleepy, Lena is patient and tells the sheep they can disguise themselves in her clothing to trick the moon. Lobel’s soft watercolor-and-gouache paintings take on a frenetic energy in this scene, as the sheep in Lena’s clothing frolicking about seem in desperate need of herding so that they might provide Lena with a restful, orderly parade through her imagination. Then, one sheep notices that clouds obscure the moon and thinks the monster is gone. Reassured, the sheep line up, and Lena counts them to sleep. The pitch-perfect ending finds the moon, not monstrous at all, peeking from behind the clouds to say, “Good night, silly sheep. And good night, lovely Lena.”

A lovely “Going-to-Bed Book” indeed. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-449-81025-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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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This ambitious, interactive exploration of color will be of particular appeal to dog lovers.

COLOR DOG

A chunky board book about colors features photographs of dogs and incorporates many interactive elements.

Even the front cover of this title is interactive. Pull a large red tab, and a bulldog’s head moves back and forth as he chews on the shoelace of a red tennis shoe. Inside, further interactive features, rhyming text, and illustrations featuring cute pups and their adorable antics await. For example, the orange pages offer a collage of pumpkins, autumn foliage, puppies, and a cat, reading: “Orange the patch of pumpkins, / Orange the autumn leaves, / Orange the frumpy, napping cat… / that I chase up a tree.” One of the pumpkins is a flap that conceals the face of a precious pup, and another, larger flap hides a pop-up tree branch on which an orange kitty perches. Other pages incorporate some more noxious surprises, such as: “Green the swamp I love to swim in, / Green the summer grass, / Green the color of the air… / when my dog food gives me gas.” Pull the tab here to trigger a large green cloud that emanates from the back end of a suitably embarrassed-looking basset hound.

This ambitious, interactive exploration of color will be of particular appeal to dog lovers. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4986-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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