The staccato rhymes suggest themselves for all sorts of exuberant oration, from simple read-alouds to more orchestrated...

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RAH, RAH, RADISHES!

A VEGETABLE CHANT

Let’s hear it for the veggies! This cheerful chant pairs pithy couplets with the author’s photographs of farmer’s market beauties.

The staccato rhymes suggest themselves for all sorts of exuberant oration, from simple read-alouds to more orchestrated pageantry, perhaps involving kids as players. Page turns are cleverly used to add further punch to the rhymes: “Lettuce. Lima. Go, green bean! / Cucumber’s cool. Kohlrabi’s queen!” The photographs, as sturdy and delicious as their subjects, occasionally pull off a visual pun: The aforementioned queenly kohlrabies sport crowns of trimmed stalks that indeed lend a regal air. Photos, bordered with thin white lines in offset rectangles, appear against pages of green, gold, eggplant-purple or tomato-red. (Yup, it’s a fruit, but it makes several honorary appearances.) Crisp white type in the serif font “Calvert” adds the right rah-rah touch. The most pleasing aspect about this crunch-fest for parents and caregivers, arguably, is its happy presumption: What kid wouldn’t love to both celebrate and chow down on these fresh and fabulous foods? Indeed, Sayre’s appended a page of facts and suggestions and notes that “No vegetables were harmed or mistreated in the making of this book. Most, however, were later eaten.” (Cauliflower pom-poms, anyone?) Page turns are cleverly used to add further punch to the rhymes: “Lettuce. Lima. Go, green bean! / Cucumber’s cool. Kohlrabi’s queen!” The photographs, as sturdy and delicious as their subjects, occasionally pull off a visual pun: The aforementioned queenly kohlrabies sport crowns of trimmed stalks that indeed lend a regal air. Photos, bordered with thin white lines in offset rectangles, appear against pages of green, gold, eggplant-purple or tomato-red(Yup, it’s a fruit, but it makes several honorary appearances.) Crisp white type in the serif font “Calvert” adds the right rah-rah touch. The most pleasing aspect about this crunch-fest for parents and caregivers, arguably, is its happy presumption: What kid wouldn’t love to both celebrate and chow down on these fresh and fabulous foods? Indeed, Sayre’s appended a page of facts and suggestions and notes that “No vegetables were harmed or mistreated in the making of this book. Most, however, were later eaten.”

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2141-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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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