Brimming with visual treasures and ending with snowflakes—“too many to count”—this joyous treat will reward both family and...

BABY BEAR COUNTS ONE

The season’s turned from summer to fall since Baby Bear learned about the colors in his world (Baby Bear Sees Blue, 2012). Now, as he and Mama observe many creatures getting ready for winter, he learns to count.

In every way a lovely companion to the previous tale, this also stands well on its own. Baby Bear plies Mama with incessant questions—as preschoolers will do—and his patient parent answers and instructs. With each successive question and answer, the cub counts one more than before, from one to 10. As Mama forages for roots at the pond, Baby Bear asks, “Who is clapping for us, Mama?” “Those are the beavers,” responds Mama, “gathering twigs before winter comes.” A page turn reveals a trio of them, gnawing brush, swimming and slapping the water with an impressive, paddlelike tail. “Baby Bear counts 3.” Wolff’s lush watercolors illuminate black-inked linoleum prints. Her striking compositions play with perspective and depth of field, enabling children to enjoy bird’s-eye views as one woodpecker and then nine geese fly high, then higher, above Baby Bear. When the cub sprawls among wildflowers counting seven bees, readers are eye to eye at ground level, amid fallen apples, snails and a fuzzy caterpillar.

Brimming with visual treasures and ending with snowflakes—“too many to count”—this joyous treat will reward both family and group sharing. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4158-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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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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