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. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.


Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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