A charming and cozy celebration of the places and routines that anchor and connect us.

THE BLUE TABLE

A blue table symbolizes and facilitates the connections among family members and between friends.

Raschka creates his narrative in two straightforward sentences. His paintings reflect the action and objects described while adding nuance and detail. The story, like most days, begins with breakfast. Food, drinks, and other objects stand in for the characters. “A child” is represented by a glass of milk. Two parents drink from a teacup and a mug; a plate of pastries is shared. A newspaper, book, crayons, paper, scissors, and a flower in a vase spread across the comfortably crowded table before it is cleared so that the family can “get going.” Next, the table fills right back up again. Food from the garden, store, and farm are piled high. An apple pie is constructed in preparation for a celebratory meal shared with another family of three. The aerial, foreshortened perspective throughout and numerous items on some pages may give the impression that the jumble of objects is random. Close examination, however, is richly repaid, with the disappearance of food and drink indicating the passage of time and the use of the child’s crayon drawings as place cards tying the two meals together. Shown only from the elbows down, the six diners include two with brown skin and four whose skin tone varies from pink to amber. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.5-by-23-inch double-page spreads viewed at 100% of actual size.)

A charming and cozy celebration of the places and routines that anchor and connect us. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293776-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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