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IT'S DUFFY TIME!

When it comes to books about napping, the Wood team cannot beat their own The Napping House, and while their love for their...

A dog’s life is a tough one, as evidenced by Duffy’s busy day, which consists mostly of naps punctuated by meals.

The Woods' pug’s typical day includes going out to the yard to “potty,” playing with his best friend and greeting his dog friends on a walk to the park. But most of the book focuses on the numerous naps Duffy takes. There are the before- and after-breakfast naps, the “late morning nap” and the “mid-day nap” that lasts through into the “early afternoon nap.” Three more naps and it’s bedtime, when, surprise, Duffy, dressed in pajamas that match his best friend’s, isn’t tired. The short sentences and relatively easy vocabulary make this a good choice for new readers, if they can get through the banality of Duffy’s schedule. The inclusion of clocks in all different shapes and sizes helps readers tell how much time has passed between naps, though the younger audience may have appreciated a focus on only the hours. Throughout, Duffy’s wrinkles and intense eyes reflect his emotions, especially his impatience (or is it embarrassment?) at waiting in line at the bank while dressed in a pirate costume.

When it comes to books about napping, the Wood team cannot beat their own The Napping House, and while their love for their pug is obvious, in terms of fun (or even interesting) dog books, almost anything can beat this. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-22089-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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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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