More a Mustache Toddler now but still getting into hairy situations, Baby Billy's still good fun.


Has Mustache Baby met a buddy...or a rival?

Baby Billy was born with a mustache that’s usually a good-guy mustache but on occasion curls up into a bad-guy mustache. When readers last saw him, he'd met bearded Baby Javier. Billy decides to show Javier how he's the “sharpest shooter in the west” (shooting hoops) and can "work on the railroad all the livelong day" (lay toy train tracks). But Javier knows a thing or two, like how to "wrassle a bear" (a teddy) and catch fish with his bare hands (goldfish crackers). Baby Billy won't be bested, so he challenges Javier to a duel. Javier beats him at magic, math, art...and even in the final showdown (a tricycle race). This, of course, prompts the return of the bad-guy mustache. When Javier produces a bad-guy beard, a wrestling match ensues—and ends in timeout. Billy wanted Javier as a sidekick, but he became a bitter rival; can Baby Billy figure out how to salvage the situation? Heos and Ang's sequel to Mustache Baby (2013) is more arch cuteness. A couple highfalutin references (Dali vs. Van Gogh in the art contest) and big words ("competitiveness") may miss the target audience, but kids will see themselves and their less-successful play dates in Billy and Javier's first meeting. Ang’s cinematic cartoon illustrations are again a joy.

More a Mustache Toddler now but still getting into hairy situations, Baby Billy's still good fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-36375-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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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 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Aspirational—but not quite ascending to the inspirational.


Explores different ways one’s voice can be used.

The unidentified narrator begins by chronicling different types of voices: “loud and proud,” “soft and sweet,” “patient and wise,” and more. The Deaf community is included in both text and art, and sign language is alluded to: “There’s a voice that is silent / but STILL CAN BE HEARD / with hands that move / to speak EVERY word.” The vibrant, colorful art presents an array of children of different races and skin tones. Unfortunately, this well-meaning book does not cohere. The art in some spreads does not appear to augment or even connect to the text. For example, the lines “I’LL SAY NO TO HATE / by using this voice / and ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE— / a magical choice” are illustrated with a spread of four children: one playing the trumpet, another singing, one with a drum major’s hat and baton, and the final child skateboarding. Readers may be confused by how these images apply to the text since they have no direct relation to saying no to hate or choosing love. Spreads with children holding protest signs feel disconnected to the present moment with no Black Lives Matter or BLM–related signs depicted. Some text excludes nonbinary children, asserting “we’re SISTERS / and BROTHERS.”

Aspirational—but not quite ascending to the inspirational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-35218-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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