The use of simple shapes, multiple colors, a variety of minimally depicted figures (which a child might see in a...

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BASHER 1 2 3

From the Basher series

Learn the numerals from 1 through 20 with big, bold pictures and simple captions.

The left-hand side of each double-page spread features the spelled-out number, center top; the numeral in question big and bold below; and all the numerals from 1 to 20 on the bottom, with the chosen one underlined. On the right-hand page is a simple illustration and description: "One smiling snake cuddles his favorite teddy bear," for example. Each number is treated to a different color scheme and different figures to illustrate it. "Six greedy penguins gobble juicy jelly beans" on a mini-iceberg, "[n]ine daring ladybugs show off on their skateboards," and "[s]ixteen lost clouds find their way home" in formation above a pink house with a purple roof. Several jokes are also tucked in. "Fourteen fearless kites fly higher and higher" features a child hitching a ride on the tail of one kite. And "Four freaky frogs have holes in their socks" depicts each frog on its own lily pad, a colorful sock on only one of its feet. After number 20 ("sleepy spiders"), there's a review of each number, taking four pages. There is no unifying theme beyond Basher’s distinctive graphics.

The use of simple shapes, multiple colors, a variety of minimally depicted figures (which a child might see in a kindergarten classroom), big numbers, and ample background space is a winning combination. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7534-6772-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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