The title says it all.

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THANK YOU!

Instead of getting specific answers to each of her many questions, Isabella learns from Grandma that, often, gratitude is enough

The sole characters in the book first appear on the cover: light-skinned and rosy-cheeked and smiling at each other. The opening double-page spread is more dramatic: The pair’s dark silhouettes huddle at the top of an equally dark bluff, near a wildly crashing sea of broad, blue brush strokes. After asserting that her grandmother knows everything, Isabella asks her first question: “Tell me, why does the sea stop at the sand, instead of swallowing up the whole town with its watery mouth?” Grandma is silent, but with each page turn, Isabella asks further questions, which will resonate with most children—questions about our world that have been pondered for generations. Each page turn also reveals artwork that perfectly matches the text’s ability to combine serious wondering, humor, and grace. When Grandma finally speaks, she lets Isabella know that there is a way to deal with “all of these mysteries.” Together, the two of them shout thank-you’s to the sea, the wind, and other natural wonders. The sun sets over their Mediterranean-looking village (this is a Spanish import), and they head home. At bedtime, Isabella asks another unanswerable question, but this time, she has a ready response to the mystery. Too many grandparent-grandchild books are mawkishly sentimental. This one is reverent and transcendent.

The title says it all. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5524-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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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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