Another metafictive storytime crowd-pleaser.

READ REVIEW

THIS IS A BALL

From the Books That Drive Kids CRAZY! series

A string of narratorial mistakes in this Australian import gives children a chance to gleefully correct the adult reading it aloud.

The cover is the first clue that something is amiss. A thin arrow points to a cube, which is distinctly not a ball. But the title says otherwise. The narrator begins with a few questions to establish a base knowledge. “Is this a triangle?” (It is.) “Is this a cat?” (It isn’t.) “And what’s this?” (A banana.) Lauding the listeners’ presumably correct responses, the narrator exclaims, “Excellent! Great job. It’s good to know we agree.” But that dynamic is set up purely to fail. The clean design has a rotating collection of solid background colors on the verso pages, with crisp white pages opposite them. Each white page has an object on it. But the confused narrator just doesn’t know what these objects are. A simple, line-drawn elephant has the corresponding declaration: “This is a dog.” The Stantons anticipate giggles and a chorus of children shouting their dissent. The narrator counters with: “Nah, it’s a dog for sure. I can see its eye. Its legs. It must be a dog.” The silly banter continues, gradually combining all of the objects into one (still wildly incorrect) story.

Another metafictive storytime crowd-pleaser. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-43437-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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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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