Goofy fun with wordplay. You can count on it.

CURIOUS ENCOUNTERS

1 TO 13 FOREST FRIENDS

Wordplay abounds, as evidenced by the title’s “EnCOUNTers,” in this counting book featuring anthropomorphic creatures in the wild.

Readers count up to 13 with affable animal groups, from one moose to 13 sea gulls. In short sentences, heavy on alliteration, they learn that each group is up to something (a “moose mak[es] a movie”; “bears bik[e] by the bay”; and “seals [go] surfing”). The animals’ speech-balloon dialogue consists of silly wordplay; most of it involves playing with the sounds of English. The moose, for instance, declares its movie is a “moose-ical,” and a young fort-making deer announces it’s “really fawn-d” of its creation. The lively, playful illustrations move the action along as if it takes place on a wide stage. A new animal group appears to the right of the previous one at each page turn. Whatever readers see on the far right of the recto appears on the next spread’s verso: A discarded bottle of cider in the right corner of a spread with two raccoons appears as the centerpiece of the next one, as slugs feast on its contents. The story comes full circle with a black-haired, beige-skinned child who, unseen by the animals, watches the tomfoolery from behind foliage. Despite the inclusion of “Forest Friends” in the subtitle, readers also follow animals to the bay, where they meet groups of otters, orcas, seals, and sea gulls.

Goofy fun with wordplay. You can count on it. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63217-274-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more