Imbued with a spirit of exploration, fostered by parental protection, Baby Bear’s colorful adventures will enrich repeat...

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BABY BEAR SEES BLUE

Inspired by the mother bear and cub in Blueberries for Sal, Wolff creates a gentle story for toddlers that introduces colors and images from the natural world.

Between awakening in the den and cuddling down for the night, Baby Bear’s day is full of new experiences and prescient questions. “A glow creeps in. / ‘Who is warming me, Mama?’ / asks Baby Bear. / ‘That is the sun,’ Mama says.” Page turns effectively deliver the color lessons: Silhouetted against the golden light of dawn, “Baby Bear sees yellow.” The cub sees green oak leaves waving, smells fragrant red strawberries, and hears the growl of thunder against a stormy gray sky. Wolff’s lovely compositions feature inked linoleum block prints that render those bears a strikingly deep, matte black. Lush, washy watercolors illuminate the scenes—colors in the downpour’s puddles reflect a rainbow. Curious Baby Bear is 100-percent toddler, and Wolff skillfully captures both the bear-ish (the mother’s prodigious claws and small, lipid brown eyes) and the human (smiles, tender looks and, well, dialogue). Small children notice small things, and plenty of tiny creatures—grasshopper, frog, mouse and more—await their discovery.

Imbued with a spirit of exploration, fostered by parental protection, Baby Bear’s colorful adventures will enrich repeat bedtime read-alouds. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1306-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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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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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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