Next book

ONE & OTHER NUMBERS WITH ALEXANDER CALDER

From the First Concepts with Fine Artists series

This is a solid visual introduction to Alexander Calder for young art aficionados, but the text fails as a counting book as...

Using counting as a framework, this book invites viewers to look closely at works by sculptor Alexander Calder.

Calder’s art features prominently, with expansive and clear photographs set against a glossy white background. It’s a lovely, well-curated collection of Calder’s work, including kid-pleasing, colorful mobiles, representational bent-wire sculptures, and solid stabiles, a kind of immobile statuary. Unfortunately, on pages with a relatively high word count, the bold, all-caps type distracts from the delicate art. Written as a direct engagement to readers, this is ostensibly a concept book. However, that intent is lost as it alternates between a simple counting format and convoluted directives. The book works nicely where expectations are clear: “TWO PIECES FLYING HIGH!” Where the text abandons the concept-book formula, however, it leaves readers confused about how to approach the task. When counting balls on a mobile, the answer should ostensibly be “FOUR. BUT WHAT ABOUT THAT TINY RED ONE? OKAY: FIVE!” Frequent narrative interjections, such as “SLOW DOWN!” or “PHEW!” further disrupt the flow. A brief section in which the text is more open-ended, inviting readers to create their own numerical criteria, is more successful. The last page provides a brief Calder biography.

This is a solid visual introduction to Alexander Calder for young art aficionados, but the text fails as a counting book as it strains just a little too hard to be playful . (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7510-1

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

Next book

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

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

Next book

DIGGERSAURS

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Close Quickview