THIRSTY BABY

Burnished watercolors transform a so-so story. With a wobbly line of ink, they give an offbeat interpretation to Cullen’s (The Magical, Mystical, Marvelous Coat, 2001) theme that is like a gift. For it’s a fun but unexceptional member of the child-who-ate-too-much school. “ ‘I’m thirsty,’ said the baby, ‘and I need a drink.’ ” Dad delivers a bottle, but the baby says, “I’m thirsty, and I want more!” Well, Mom has run him a bath and that will do just fine. “More!” His sister takes him for a row in the pond. “He started with a sip, and the finished with a sup, / And the pond in the park, well, he drank it all up.” And so goes the river he visits with his grandmother and the sea he visits with his grandfather. “ ‘That’s enough!’ said the baby. ‘Now it’s time to stop. / That’s enough!’ said the baby. Not another drop!’ ” Until bedtime, anyway. The rhyme has a tone poem’s musicality and the kind of pleasing repetition that gets the toe tapping. But it’s McPhail’s (Sisters, 2002, etc.) art that lifts the whole production to another, comfortably seedy level, full of mud and discarded tires and old cannonballs, stranded whales and unhappy turtles and tattered Jolly Rogers. A call to row your boat upon Cullen’s poem and, with a great inclusive hug, into McPhail’s world. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-316-16357-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

JAZZ BABY

A snappy rhyming text celebrates an extended family’s joyous gyrations to the jazz spinning on the turntable. From waking to sleep, Baby’s right in the thick of it, as siblings, grandparents and cousins move and groove: “So they BOOM-BOOM-BOOM / and they HIP-HIP-HOP / and the bouncin’ baby boogies with a BOP-BOP-BOP.” Wheeler’s verse scans beautifully and begs to be read aloud—danced to, even—making this a fine choice for preschool and kindergarten story times. Christie’s bold, double-paged gouache compositions locate this colorfully garbed, expressively hip family within an equally vibrant community. As Baby’s big dark eyes get glassy with fatigue, the party winds down. “Daddy sings blues. / Mama sings sweet. / While that snoozy-woozy baby . . . / . . . sleeps deep, deep, deep.” Exultant and infectious, from the red-and-yellow-striped endpapers to the final “OH YEAH!” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-202522-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more