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

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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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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Like marshmallow on top of caramel.

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN CHRISTMAS

Little Bear loves everything about Christmas, but there’s one thing he loves even more.

The Bear household is busily getting ready for Christmas. Mommy Bear wraps and bakes; Daddy Bear brings home a humongous tree; Little Bear exults in it all. With each new Christmas tradition that’s introduced, from opening Christmas cards to receiving carolers, Little Bear sings a song that celebrates it. “I love ornaments, and garland, and lights on a string, / candy canes, stockings—and all of the things / that make Christmas perfect—oh, yes, I do! / But the thing that I love more than Christmas is—” But before Little Bear can complete his rhyme, each time he is interrupted by a new element of Christmas to celebrate. Since that terminal rhyme is always set up with one that ends with an “oo” sound, readers will not be surprised in the least when Mommy and Daddy interrupt him one last time with an emphatic “YOU!” It’s all so uber-idealized readers may find themselves gagging on the syrup—it even seems to get at Hattie: Daddy Bear’s smug “What an exceedingly talented family we are” has a whiff of irony to it. Warnes’ cartoon bears inhabit a cozy, middle-class home; while the carolers are clothed, the Bear family is not, but readers may notice a white marking on Mommy Bear’s chest where a string of pearls might rest.

Like marshmallow on top of caramel. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-208-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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