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ZADIE AND THE STRIPEY SOCK

Validates a child’s anger but doesn’t reflect on it.

When Zadie’s family ignores her, she decides to run away from home.

She packs her bag with her most important possessions, including a snorkel, binoculars, and a piece of toast. Just when she is ready to leave, though, she realizes that she’s missing something: one rainbow stripey sock. Zadie sets off to find it, confronting the family members who made her angry. Jack—who appears to be her brother—hasn’t seen the sock. Maggie—who might be Zadie’s sister—tells Zadie she doesn’t have the sock because “Stripes are not cool.” At one point, she thinks she finds her dog chewing the sock, but when she realizes that the animal is ruining her brother’s shirt and not her sock, she walks away. Dad is too busy working in the garden to help, and Mom is too busy making a phone call. Zadie’s anger builds and builds, and she is more and more sure that running away is the right decision. That is, until she finally finds her younger sibling playing with her sock—and remembers why family isn’t all bad. Although Zadie’s anger is both accessible and refreshing, she does not seem to reflect on how her interactions with family members border on selfish and rude. The third-person narratorial voice deftly balances sincerity and humor. Illustrations depict brown-skinned Zadie’s family as interracial, with a brown-skinned mom and White-presenting dad.

Validates a child’s anger but doesn’t reflect on it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7360319-2-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penny Candy

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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