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

WAIT! IT'S FRIDAY

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.

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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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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