Joyful imagination, plain and simple.

ANDREW DREW AND DREW

An unassuming boy, a single lead pencil and plenty of fresh white space make for a true descendent of Harold and the Purple Crayon, with its own flavor.

Andrew is a “doodle boy” with a standard pencil. This book’s thick, glossy pages are his expansive workspace: Andrew appears on the pages, drawing, and the pages are also the paper he’s drawing upon. Some pages are the same width as the cover, others narrower or wider, turning over or folding out to change a drawing’s meaning. Andrew doesn’t plan; he draws and sees where it takes him. “[B]efore he kn[ows] it,” an abstract line becomes a kite and then a rocket. If he draws stairs, they’re physical enough for him to sit on—but turn the flap, and they’re a dinosaur’s back. Andrew himself is rendered in color, while his carefully shaded desk and pencil sharpener are—quite wonderfully—the gray of his own pencil. “When night dr[aws] near,” Andrew slowly fills the space with dark pencil crosshatches until it’s something else entirely—perhaps the next day’s artwork or a nighttime dream. Any question of reality versus representation is the gentlest kind, utterly unobtrusive. Adults should keep an eye on the midbook 3-D easel featuring small, stapled-on papers vulnerable to eager hands, because those papers hold text as well as illustration.

Joyful imagination, plain and simple. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0377-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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 visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

ONE FAMILY

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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