Though it initially treads some familiar territory, this European import sensitively takes readers into an emotional...

WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME IF...?

A little bear seeks reassurance from his mother that she will always love him.

At first, the question-and-answer session follows a familiar pattern. Little Bear has torn his jacket; will Mom still love him? What if he tore all his clothes? If he got bad marks at school? If he made a mess at home? With each query, Mom reassures him. To this point, there’s little remarkable about this book, but then it takes an unexpected turn: “There is something that still worries Little Bear very much, but he doesn’t dare ask….‘What if you died?’ ” Mom takes her time to answer, then tells him that of course she will, and he will feel it “deep inside.” Will she ever love someone else more? he asks, looking “at her round tummy.” The conversation plays itself out as Mom mends the torn jacket, Tharlet’s shaggy ursines posed against vast expanses of white space, the occasional window or chair indicating a domestic interior. The end is abrupt, and readers accustomed to resolution will feel that the loving dialogue has been cut off with a couple page turns yet to go. It honors the attention span of genuine preschoolers, though, realistically capturing their mercurial shifts in mood from existential wonder to absorption in immediate action.

Though it initially treads some familiar territory, this European import sensitively takes readers into an emotional frontier rarely explored. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-988-8240-51-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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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 heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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