A must-read-aloud text with memorable characters—Underwood and Hart make a perfect pair.

ONE SHOE TWO SHOES

A playful pup, 10 mischievous mice, and some fashionable footwear unite in this seemingly simple counting book.

Hart pays homage to One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish with clever rhyming text that channels the classic on its opening spreads. But in lieu of fish are shoes as seen from a dog’s-eye view as footwear of varying styles, shades, and purpose step past the frolicking pup on its walk. Home again, canine curiosity is piqued as mice scramble and scurry, one by one, to occupy the various shoes. Onomatopoeia offers clues as to the mice’s whereabouts, and readers will delight in the floppy-eared dog’s search for them. With one lick it scatters the plump white rodents before heading out on another walk. While the nonlinear text begs to be read aloud, it’s Underwood’s skillful compositions and expressive characters that propel the sequencing of events, bringing the tale full circle. Done in pencil and marker with paper and digital collage, the graphically simplified shapes showcase the artist’s ability to execute form and design. Reminiscent of M. Sasek, Mary Blair, and other artists influenced by post–World War II optimism, Underwood’s nostalgic interpretation of modern living channels a visual style associated with feelings of opportunity and prosperity, appealing to readers of all ages.

A must-read-aloud text with memorable characters—Underwood and Hart make a perfect pair. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0094-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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