A cleverly designed, engaging picture book about the joy of text.

YOU ARE A READER! / YOU ARE A WRITER!

If you love reading, writing, listening to, or telling stories, then this book is for you!

Learning to read can be challenging—vowels in particular can be confusing—but with enough practice and the right strategies, the narrator assures readers, everyone can learn not only how to read, but also how to enjoy it. The narrator emphasizes that even if books are not for everyone, there are many other exciting reading materials: magazines, recipes, maps, and even labels at museums. Writing, like reading, can be tricky and also requires patience and practice. But, like reading, writing, once mastered, can open up all kinds of creative opportunities, from writing songs or poems to composing slogans or text messages. This cleverly designed picture book is actually two rhyming stories, bound back to back. The stories meet in the middle on a page with text printed in a circle that repeats the mantra that “readers are writers and writers are readers.” This innovative design reinforces the book’s central ideas: that reading and writing go together and that, fundamentally, every child is capable of creativity. While there is no protagonist per se, Davenier’s loose, humorously informal illustrations include diverse characters with varied skin colors, hair textures, and abilities. Taken together, the text and pictures articulate a quirky, inspirational call to creative action that is sure to empower young children to explore the wild world of words.

A cleverly designed, engaging picture book about the joy of text. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4625-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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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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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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