Atinuke has bottled the delightful energy of the Anna Hibiscus books and poured it into this treat for younger readers.

READ REVIEW

B IS FOR BABY

A circular tale of family love with visual rewards for sharp-eyed listeners. 

In this story that looks like an alphabet book but focuses exclusively on the letter B, a smiling woman, probably mama, stands in a yard, holding Baby cheek-to-cheek, as another woman chats with four children under the awning of a small tin-roofed house in the background. Many visual details hint at this book’s African (probably Nigerian) setting. After Mama Beads Baby’s hair, Brother loads a Basket of Bananas onto his Bicycle while bopping to the beat of what’s playing through his headphones, oblivious to everything else—especially the fact that Baby climbed into the Basket to have a Banana for Breakfast. On the road, he passes a Baobab tree, Birds, a Butterfly, Baboons, a Bus brimming over with brown-skinned riders crossing a Bridge, and more sights—few of which Brother notices. Nothing, however, escapes the keen eyes of Baby. Only when Brother lifts the Bananas from the Bicycle rack does anyone discover the stowaway. A surprised Baba happily welcomes both grandchildren, who join him for Biscuits and bottles of something bubbly. Brooksbank effectively avoids stereotypes while adding humor and cultural specificity to the story with her detailed and lively, colorful, mixed-media images. Safety-conscious caregivers may suck their teeth, but there’s no denying the joy in this book.

Atinuke has bottled the delightful energy of the Anna Hibiscus books and poured it into this treat for younger readers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0166-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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