A challenging search-and-find adventure.

THE LOST COUSINS

Grandad, Esmé, and Tate search for their cousins in this latest outing from Cronin.

As Grandad peruses a photo album, Esmé and Tate discover photos (reproduced in the frontispiece for visual reference) of “long-lost” cousins Yuki, Jada, Awan, and Luis. The intrepid trio set out to find the cousins, traveling by boat to the icy place where Yuki lives in a fanciful, three-story igloo and then by train, looking for Awan in a watery landscape of bridges and boats. Next, they strap into a plane, flying above rainbow-striped hills where Luis lives. Finally, they cross the sand atop a camel to Jada’s desert town. Following a family reunion and group photo, Grandad discovers they’ve lost their goggles, canteen, whistle, compass, telescope, and sailor hat (all visually reproduced to aid detection) along the way and must retrace their steps to find the missing gear. Once again, Cronin (The Lost Christmas, 2018, etc.) orchestrates cunning visual challenges, directly inviting readers to search four distinct, amazingly detailed, surreal landscapes to locate Yuki, Jada, Awan, and Luis and then double back to find the diabolically concealed lost items. Forming mazes of pattern and line, psychedelic acrylic illustrations beg close inspection of wonderland details and nonsensical juxtapositions. It is a pity that this canine extended family’s search rests upon stereotypically exotic cues, however.

A challenging search-and-find adventure. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-4514-7908-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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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Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby.

BABY GOES TO MARKET

Baby is so charming that various vendors in this West African market gift him all sorts of yummies.

Baby rides on Mama’s back, held snug by a bright cloth wrap. Mama navigates the busy, colorful outdoor market, her woven basket balanced on her head. The text unrolls rhythmically in Atinuke’s storyteller’s voice: “Market is very crowded. Baby is very curious. Baby is so curious that Mrs. Ade, the banana seller, gives Baby six bananas.” Baby eats one and puts the remaining bananas in Mama’s basket. All the while Mama shops, unbeknownst to her, vendors continue to respond to Baby’s transparent delight with five oranges, four “sugary chin-chin biscuits,” three “roasted sweet corn,” and two pieces of coconut. With each delicacy given, Baby eats one and puts the rest in the basket. When Mama sees all the extra foodstuffs she didn’t buy, she’s concerned, until the vendors reassure her: “We gave those things to Baby!” In her debut picture book, Brooksbank offers bright, bustling tableaux of shoppers, vendors, and goods. The smiling, all-black cast sort through myriad wares, while the text keeps up its rhythm, introducing both typical items bought in a West African market and a gentle lesson in arithmetic as Baby alternately snacks on and stashes his gifts.

Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9570-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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