Fun to read and visually appealing but unlikely to be a perennial favorite.

READ REVIEW

WOULD YOU RATHER BE A PRINCESS OR A DRAGON?

Humorous rhymes and comical pictures compare stereotypical expectations of princesses and dragons, ending with a sly observation.

On the first verso, a froglike creature is reading a book that is explained on the recto: “Would you rather be a princess or a dragon? You’ll never know which one to be until you’ve tried. / If you want to be a princess or a dragon, here’s a book that might help you decide.” The text goes on to compare such “truisms” as princesses’ preference for the color pink and dragons’ for green; bubble baths vs. dirt and dainty eating vs. gorging are a couple of the other sets of oppositions. Striving for consistent rhyme can be a challenge: it’s a stretch to think of “a perfect princess wave” as the opposite of looking for “the perfect dragon cave.” The rhymes do not always scan well, but the combination of mixed-media cartoon art and lighthearted text will keep young children engaged. The face of the princess is a few shades darker than lily-white, topped by wavy auburn hair; the friendly-appearing dragon seems to be cut from textured green paper, its features inked on top. The use of photographed pink bubble wrap for the princess’s bubble bath adds to the frivolous mood. The ending combines a not-very-subtle reminder about the need to question behavioral expectations for children with a sight gag.

Fun to read and visually appealing but unlikely to be a perennial favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-358-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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 wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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