Occasional badness has never been so good.

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MUSTACHE BABY

Outlaw or lawman…the mustache will reveal the truth!

“When Baby Billy was born, his family noticed something odd: / He had a mustache.” When they ask the nurse what it could mean, she answers that they’ll have to wait to “see whether it turns out to be a good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache.” At first, Billy’s a cowboy, protecting his cattle (teddy bear) from attack (by the family dog) and caring for injured animals (his torn bear). Obviously a good-guy mustache! He becomes a “ringleader. A Spanish painter. A sword fighter. And finally… / A man of the law.” But as he grows into toddlerhood, his mustache begins to curl at the ends and becomes a bad-guy mustache! After some cat burglary, “cereal” crime and train robbery (including the track), he’s caught and thrown in jail (a barred crib). After ages, his mother busts him out, and his parents explain that everyone has “a bad-mustache day” every once in a while. Heos’ simple and silly metaphorical tale of the terrible twos will definitely entertain parents and children older than Billy. Twos will, at least, giggle over every page of the digitally created, jewel-eyed, cartoon illustrations, with their mix of Saturday-morning slapstick, dramatic comic-book angles and mustachioed babies.

Occasional badness has never been so good. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-77357-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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