This technique for drifting off to slumber is surely worth a try.

READ REVIEW

FEET, GO TO SLEEP

When every inch of you is bone tired, why not try falling asleep bit by bit?

That’s what little Fiona, weary from a tiring day frolicking with family at the beach, does—and it works. She dispatches each body part off to dreamland, reminiscing as she goes how each part, starting with her toes and proceeding upward, was especially suited to enjoy a day bursting with activity and fun. The watercolor, gouache, fabric, and digital illustrations are bright and cheerful, neatly conveying a perky child and her warm, happy memories of a day spent with loving, multiethnic relatives. In her body language, Fiona looks almost as energetic in her varying states of repose as she did on the beach and during the picnic afterward, which may lead some readers to believe that actively, consciously willing the body to sleep might stimulate wakefulness rather than induce drowsiness. Additionally, the front blurb suggests that sending body parts off to sleep, one by one, is “a proven relaxation technique,” but no supporting evidence to back this up is provided in an author’s note or elsewhere; parents might appreciate corroborative research or anecdotal data. Still, children and their special grown-ups should find this an endearing prelude to bedtime after their own very busy days, especially if enlivened by discussions of how kids’ body parts figured into their activities.

This technique for drifting off to slumber is surely worth a try. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-449-81325-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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