The final metaphor says it all: “A mother’s a home.”

A MOTHER IS A HOUSE

Petit uses metaphors to describe the different jobs mothers do.

This French import via New Zealand opens with the pregnant mother lying on the couch, her partner’s hand atop her belly: “A mother’s a house.” Across the gutter, “She’s a car in a rush” as the two stride down the sidewalk. With the page turn, she’s a “lullaby hush,” the baby in her arms. A “permanent fountain” shows her breastfeeding, and she’s a “wall” when she blocks the now-crawling tot from her toolbox and a ladder. She serves as an island when the two are soaking in the bathtub, the babe’s tush in the air, and readers see the mother’s bare bum and a side view of her breast (and nipple) when she’s compared to “a picture” in a pose that evokes impressionist art. While a changing rhyme scheme makes reading this aloud a bit of a challenge, the fact that the phrases are scattered across page turns makes this less of a drawback, especially since children may want to pause to see how a mom is a “kangaroo pouch” or a “roof in the street.” Mom has pink skin and brown hair; her partner and child share lighter coloring and grayish-greenish hair. What’s most striking about the book, though, is its use of intense neon colors both for details and large swaths of the illustrations and for the text itself.

The final metaphor says it all: “A mother’s a home.” (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-776573-23-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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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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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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