A sweet celebration of sharing in the outdoors. (Picture book. 2-5)


A toddler and her dad take a walk in the woods, where there is much to behold and to hold.

A "sparkling stone," a "spiny spiral pine cone," and a "bumpy brittle brown twig": each find summons the titular imperative from Mika to her father. He reminds her that she's a big girl and can hold her treasures herself. A stumble causes her to lose them, but with a kiss from dad, she's ebulliently looking around again. Here, swirling display type accentuates her renewed enthusiasm as she lights upon leaves, a stream, and a frog, all gathered (the stream in a cupped leaf), all lost again. Mud and a mushroom are next. (Either dad is a mycologist and recognizes it as harmless, or he is secure in the knowledge she won't eat it, for no parental warning issues forth.) A rotten log is an immediate fail, but Mika has distracted herself (rather abruptly) with a fairy house. On the way home, a final "Hold this!" finds hands joined in companionship. Alpaugh illustrates Scoppettone's brief, onomatopoeic text with bright watercolors. Mika has East Asian features, while her father is a blond Caucasian. Their relative sizes may give some readers pause—very young Mika seems at times quite big—but this serves to visually unite them. Small animals play fancifully in the background; at one point, mice float by on inner tubes.

A sweet celebration of sharing in the outdoors. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-939017-68-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Islandport Press

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...


The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?