A final verse brings lots of kisses and a smile to baby’s face—an unusual end to a blues song, but perfect for this ballad...

BABY'S GOT THE BLUES

A baby sings the blues, naming his many woes in each verse: wet diapers, mushy meals, legs that don’t walk quite yet and nap time in a crib that feels more like a cage.

Baby endures misery after little misery, while his nearly featureless face relays astonishment, mute pleading and chagrined surrender. Who wants to be stuck in a sling on someone’s back, anyway? Older siblings might finally find some empathy for the babies in their lives—and a few laughs too. The brilliant incongruity of a baby and blues music (usually featuring soured romance, bum luck and booze) hits all the right comedic notes. Baby’s refrain, repeated after each demoralizing episode, howls out for a singalong: B-A-B-Y, baby, Got those…baby blues. Tobia’s pen-and-ink illustrations beg for repeat visits too, with their refreshing portrayal of a bustling urban family. This mama, sporting a tattoo, tank top and a messy ponytail, takes big sister and baby to a pizza-place play date and then a walk along New York City’s High Line. Eye-squinting details (polka dots on the underside of a stuffed bunny’s ears, a paisley pattern on a blanket, etc.) and vivid colors energize these wonderfully ordinary scenes of moms and small children.

A final verse brings lots of kisses and a smile to baby’s face—an unusual end to a blues song, but perfect for this ballad about an infant’s everyday frustrations. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3260-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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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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Like marshmallow on top of caramel.

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN CHRISTMAS

Little Bear loves everything about Christmas, but there’s one thing he loves even more.

The Bear household is busily getting ready for Christmas. Mommy Bear wraps and bakes; Daddy Bear brings home a humongous tree; Little Bear exults in it all. With each new Christmas tradition that’s introduced, from opening Christmas cards to receiving carolers, Little Bear sings a song that celebrates it. “I love ornaments, and garland, and lights on a string, / candy canes, stockings—and all of the things / that make Christmas perfect—oh, yes, I do! / But the thing that I love more than Christmas is—” But before Little Bear can complete his rhyme, each time he is interrupted by a new element of Christmas to celebrate. Since that terminal rhyme is always set up with one that ends with an “oo” sound, readers will not be surprised in the least when Mommy and Daddy interrupt him one last time with an emphatic “YOU!” It’s all so uber-idealized readers may find themselves gagging on the syrup—it even seems to get at Hattie: Daddy Bear’s smug “What an exceedingly talented family we are” has a whiff of irony to it. Warnes’ cartoon bears inhabit a cozy, middle-class home; while the carolers are clothed, the Bear family is not, but readers may notice a white marking on Mommy Bear’s chest where a string of pearls might rest.

Like marshmallow on top of caramel. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-208-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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