Here’s hoping there will be more adventures with Nelly and her family.

NELLY GNU AND DADDY TOO

From the Llama Llama series

Fans of the Llama Llama series can rejoice—best-selling author Dewdney is back with another one, this time featuring Nelly Gnu and her ever helpful daddy.

Having made her first appearance in Llama Llama, Time to Share (2012), Nelly is back and quite industrious as she and her father work together to build a playhouse. Rhyming couplets cheerily describe the activity: “A great big box, some tape and string— / Daddy can make anything! // First they measure. Then they draw. / Nelly tapes, and Daddy saws.” As the project takes shape, Nelly decides that the playhouse needs some decorating. Off the pair goes to get paint and brushes at the store. Nelly laughs as she rides high on Daddy’s shoulders, and she is amazed at all the colors of paint she sees on the shelves. Amid the hustle and bustle, Nelly suddenly loses sight of her father and has a moment of panic. The full-bleed spread of Nelly alone in a sea of shoppers, viewed from above, brings emotional heft to the otherwise innocuous preschool story. But the page turn reveals Nelly in close-up, being embraced by the two strong arms of her dad. All ends well as they complete their special day painting “the house with brick designs. / Big bright flowers, climbing vines.” Dewdney clearly knows her audience and delivers an engaging story illustrated with a rainbow of vibrant hues that preschoolers will love.

Here’s hoping there will be more adventures with Nelly and her family. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-670-01227-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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