A colorful start for beginning readers.

CAT LIKES RED

From the I Like To Read series

A cat explores colors on a busy day.

Cat—a brown tabby—wakes up, stretches, and yawns as light beams in. Dotted lines trace Cat’s footsteps as they exit the kitty door and explore outside their home. Cat stares at a red ladybug (“Cat likes red”). The page turn yields to a full double-page spread, painting an entire scene in a red wash. Readers can pick out multiple red objects in the background (“Red is nice”). The formula repeats as Cat moves to the next isolated color, yellow. Cat spots a bee (“Cat likes yellow”), and the page turn reveals a yellow-washed farm scene (“Yellow is nice”). Other colors include green, blue, pink, orange, and black—with black signifying nighttime as Cat sleeps (“Good night”). Comics creator Russo’s first children’s book makes good use of his expressive character-design skills. The simple text, consisting of 13 unique words, seven of which are colors, allows readers to focus on the detailed scenes and practice color recognition. White space serves as an effective palate cleanser between the full-color spreads as Cat moves from one color to the next, with the words for the colors on those pages printed in appropriately colored type. The cover gives nod to all the creatures—and colors—Cat will encounter on their adventure, further helping emerging readers make predictions. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

A colorful start for beginning readers. (Picture book/early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4587-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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