A good pick even for picky readers.

LITTLE GREEN DONKEY

Little Donkey lives out the adage that you are what you eat, with humorous outcomes.

Little Donkey is a finicky eater and will eat only green grass. Mom tries to convince her child to try other foods, to no avail. Humorous illustrations show that Little Donkey’s exclusive overconsumption of grass causes a dramatic transformation. When Little Donkey sees a decidedly green reflection in the pond, the young equine panics, rolling in mud and leaves to try to conceal the greenness. Mom sees right through this ruse—Little Donkey’s green snout is clearly and comically visible. This finally prompts Little Donkey to try other foods, but none appeal—until Little Donkey tries carrots. Careful readers may have noticed the carrots decorating the front endpapers and will delight to see this newfound favorite food. Alas, trying and loving carrots does not break Little Donkey’s trying trait. Young readers will not be surprised to see the protagonist overindulging so that the once-green hide turns orange. “Great,” Little Donkey says on the final page, delivering a funny ending if not a sign of growth. Throughout, Allepuz’s colorful illustrations augment the text’s humor, especially in a spread akin to a centerfold that shows Little Donkey’s alarm at being all green, head-to-hoof.

A good pick even for picky readers. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0937-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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