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Sisterly affection and admiration sweetly serves to strengthen the rapport between siblings.

A little sister is eager to do everything big sister does.

A frustrated little toucan describes how her big sister can make her own breakfast, tie her own shoes, and read her own books. Big sister says, “I tou-can,” but little sister says “I tou-can’t.” No matter how diligent the effort, sometimes little sister is just too little. “IT’S NOT FAIR THAT I’M LITTLE.” But when big sister comes down with a cold and doesn’t feel like doing anything, little sister is there, ready to help. She gets her sister slippers and snacks, then tells her a story. Proud of herself, little sister decides she deserves a reward. Climbing to reach the candy jar atop the refrigerator, she tumbles, falls, and creates a mess. Big sister comes to the rescue, reminding little sister that she is still little. No matter; the love between these siblings wins out with little moments they share together. The play on the phrase I can too that so many younger siblings favor in their attempts to follow and copy may be lost on little listeners, though the sentiment displayed by these toucan characters shines through. Colorful cartoon illustrations augment the positive portrayal of the significance of younger-sibling ambition and self-worth supported by an older sibling’s cooperation and understanding. The birds live in a home with human furnishings but do not wear clothes (except slippers); they wear their head feathers, however, in a ponytail and pigtails. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sisterly affection and admiration sweetly serves to strengthen the rapport between siblings. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11763-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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