A gift of a book to open again and again.

TEN RULES OF THE BIRTHDAY WISH

A happy count-up to a birthday wish.

The opening page proclaims, “There are, / there most definitely are, / 10 / very specific, tried and true, / and absolutely essential / Rules For The Making of / a Birthday Wish.” The ensuing spreads detail these rules, all delivered in an exuberant, humorous tone, as well as exceptions and modifications to those rules. For example, the second rule instructs, “You must have a PARTY!” at which balloons are recommended décor, unless “you are a rhinoceros, a swordfish, / a sea urchin, or pointy in any way.” The accompanying illustrations show these “pointy” creatures popping said balloons with sound-effect “POP!”s and apologies of “oopsie,” “sorry,” and “my bad” issuing from their mouths. Every step up to and including the clever 10th rule, “Don’t forget that ‘wish’ ends in / ‘shhhhhh’ / so keep your wish quiet, / silent, / hush-hush,” is satisfyingly humorous and sure to gift readers with guffaws. Lichtenheld’s art matches the text’s humor on each spread, with anthropomorphic animal antics and a few human revelers, too. A spare moment at the sixth rule fearlessly embraces the white of the page as the text states “You must close your eyes,” and art shows a sweep of lashes on either side of the gutter indicating closed eyes plus an embellishment of a flower to symbolize “something extraordinary” in a birthday wish.

A gift of a book to open again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4154-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 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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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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