ALPHABET ADVENTURE

The alphabet letters are stuck on Alphabet Island. “Oh, who knows what to do?” There’s no pageboy to pull the plug and solve the problem as in Wood’s King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub (1985). An adult reading to a child, however, might be tempted to pull the plug on the plodding story and concentrate solely on the vibrant, double-page spreads by Woods’s son. The story follows a cast of 3-D lower-case alphabet letters (plus their leader, Capital T for teacher) preparing to leave Alphabet Island to go to school. Little “i” loses her dot, setting up a slight mystery that sends the letters searching all over the island for it; it’s hiding somewhere in each illustration. The missing dot returns when she is about to be replaced, and the alphabet team climbs aboard a pencil to jet off to school, where they help a boy spell his name. The computer-generated illustrations far surpass the slight story, with jaunty letters in crayon-bright colors and an appealing Alphabet Island full of turquoise canals, palm trees, and brightly painted row houses. Illustrator Woods creatively varies the perspective with overhead views and flying pencils that seem ready to rocket right off the page. Preschoolers can learn the names of the letters as they peruse the fascinating art, created with 3-D modeling software. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-08069-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

TEN LITTLE FISH

This charming, colorful counting tale of ten little fish runs full-circle. Although the light verse opens and closes with ten fish swimming in a line, page-by-page the line grows shorter as the number of fish diminishes one-by-one. One fish dives down, one gets lost, one hides, and another takes a nap until a single fish remains. Then along comes another fish to form a couple and suddenly a new family of little fish emerges to begin all over. Slick, digitally-created images of brilliant marine flora and fauna give an illusion of underwater depth and silence enhancing the verse’s numerical and theatrical progression. The holistic story bubbles with life’s endless cycle. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-439-63569-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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