An attractive celebration, though not an introductory one.

IS IT ROSH HASHANAH YET?

A bucolic autumn in a country setting heralds the Jewish New Year.

A young family with two children (brother and sister, judging by attire) gets ready to celebrate the holiday. The simple, rhyming text and the refrain, “Rosh Hashanah is on its way,” will encourage young listeners to participate in read-alouds. The family gathers apples in an orchard, and then Mom buys pomegranates as the child narrator notes it is “a fruit I’ve never tried!” (One holiday custom is to eat a new seasonal fruit.) The text then says: “And we hope to do a mitzvah for each of the seeds inside….” This line is on a double-page spread showing the siblings watching Mom’s hands break the fruit apart to show the many seeds inside, but the word “mitzvah” (“commandment” in the religious sense or “good deed” in more secular usage) is not explained. The kids make cards and hear the shofar blown at a religious class (attended by children of various skin tones and a white boy in a wheelchair). After synagogue, the diverse congregants greet one another with “Shanah Tovah.” Then friends and relatives of different ages and races arrive for the festive meal (the protagonists’ family is white). The pleasant, soft-edged, matte illustrations depict an idealized rural world. The lack of background information suggests an audience familiar with the traditions shown.

An attractive celebration, though not an introductory one. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3396-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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A laugh-inducing Halloween read-along.

THE CRAYONS TRICK OR TREAT

The Crayons return in time for Halloween as vampire-costumed Purple coaches the dressed-up wax pack through its first trick-or-treating venture.

It takes five houses’ worth of door-knocks for this skeleton crew of seven to perfect the protocol, with enough outlandish flubs to generate giggles in Halloween-savvy preschoolers. At Door No. 1, Orange, dressed as a jack-o’-lantern, says, “Give us your candy, Lady.” At the next, the gang, encouraged by Purple to “think holiday,” responds with an impressive array of misguided greetings, including “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy American Cheese Month!” Later, White, levitating impressively in a ghost costume, overreacts to Halloween’s “scary” aspect by overwhelming residents with a “BOO!” Peach, unnamed here but recognizably wrapperless from the initial title, exuberantly (and inappropriately) repeats, “I’m naked!” Finally, the troupe perfects its treat-inducing line, though a certain ghost cannot resist an ad lib. This excursion, like many of the holiday-themed Crayon books, has a smaller trim size, a lower price point, and far less complexity than Daywalt and Jeffers’ first two Crayon titles. Still, the pair deftly let young children in on the jokes through funny, hand-lettered dialogue and the visually telegraphed, all-in haplessness of this well-branded band. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A laugh-inducing Halloween read-along. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-62102-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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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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