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

HOLD THIS!

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 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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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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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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