Even Beckett might have smiled when he reached the end of the story. Once in a while, waiting is more than worth the effort.

Title notwithstanding, this picture book is the polar opposite of Waiting for Godot.

There’s never a moment of doubt that Shabbat is coming. The multiracial Jewish family in the story spends every minute of Friday making sure they’re ready for the Sabbath when the sun goes down. Some of the preparations are deeply spiritual, such as setting aside coins for charity, while others are mundane but necessary. Two pages of the book are devoted to laundry, which is probably two too many. Younger children might prefer to read more about the time spent taking care of Sisi the cat and Daisy the dog, but Grove’s illustrations make up for it. Sisi is having more fun than seems possible, decorating the “SHABBAT SHALOM” poster with paw prints and inventing a game with the coins for the tzedakah box. Sisi’s level of joy could serve as an inspiration to us all. The story will test readers’ patience, almost by definition. Just about every page of the text includes the word “wait.” But that only builds anticipation for the final pages of the book. When readers see the “golden and fluffy” matzo balls and the irises standing “tall in a sparkly vase,” they may feel as joyous as Sisi. In this observant extended family, Daddy and his parents present white, while Mommy and Uncle Bill present black; the protagonist and baby sister Helen have light-brown skin and Afro-textured hair.

Even Beckett might have smiled when he reached the end of the story. Once in a while, waiting is more than worth the effort. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68115-542-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019


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


Like marshmallow on top of caramel.

Little Bear loves everything about Christmas, but there’s one thing he loves even more.

The Bear household is busily getting ready for Christmas. Mommy Bear wraps and bakes; Daddy Bear brings home a humongous tree; Little Bear exults in it all. With each new Christmas tradition that’s introduced, from opening Christmas cards to receiving carolers, Little Bear sings a song that celebrates it. “I love ornaments, and garland, and lights on a string, / candy canes, stockings—and all of the things / that make Christmas perfect—oh, yes, I do! / But the thing that I love more than Christmas is—” But before Little Bear can complete his rhyme, each time he is interrupted by a new element of Christmas to celebrate. Since that terminal rhyme is always set up with one that ends with an “oo” sound, readers will not be surprised in the least when Mommy and Daddy interrupt him one last time with an emphatic “YOU!” It’s all so uber-idealized readers may find themselves gagging on the syrup—it even seems to get at Hattie: Daddy Bear’s smug “What an exceedingly talented family we are” has a whiff of irony to it. Warnes’ cartoon bears inhabit a cozy, middle-class home; while the carolers are clothed, the Bear family is not, but readers may notice a white marking on Mommy Bear’s chest where a string of pearls might rest.

Like marshmallow on top of caramel. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-208-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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