Playful narration and amusing artwork will prompt readers to say, just like Edgar, “Again.” (Picture book. 2-6)

EDGAR'S SECOND WORD

Baby Edgar’s first word (“NO!”) drives his sister crazy, especially since she waited so long to hear it.

Curly-headed Hazel, eager to share books and playtime with her lump of a brother, shines as a refreshing foil to the snarling older sibling whose resentment simmers in so many picture books these days. Hazel’s failed attempts to play school, store, farm, (or even to squeeze the “squeaky-honky-quacky duck”) with little Edgar evoke empathy from readers and a stream of NO!s from the tiny (but mighty) tot. Hand lettering makes Edgar’s NO!s seem LOUD even to a silent reader. After a whole day of insistent negativity (screeching scenes shown on crisp white pages), she’s about ready to give up on brother bonding. Mother manages to smile through spilled cereal, botched bathtime and even a loud library run, and fluid ink-and-watercolor illustrations offer lots of optimistic springtime colors (greens, yellows, purples), as well as a serene matte finish. Plucky, pitch-perfect kid vernacular keeps the story upbeat too, full of silly run-on descriptors; Hazel hopes that Edgar goes from a “pointing, grunting watermelon” to a “not-no-saying lamb of a ram.” Exhausted by his own naysaying, Edgar finds himself settled on Hazel’s lap for a bedtime read—and offers a second word that finally brings them together.

Playful narration and amusing artwork will prompt readers to say, just like Edgar, “Again.” (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-547-68462-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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