Designed for all kinds of children in all kinds of families, this will be particularly welcome in adoptive and...

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WHAT MAKES A BABY

A sex educator and an artist with a graphics background craft an unusually flexible explanation of baby-making for sharing with young children.

Silverberg’s text and Smyth’s inclusive illustrations work together not only to answer questions about where babies come from, but also to provide an opportunity for caregivers to share as much or as little about that particular child’s history as they want. Eggs and sperm come together to share their stories, there’s a uterus to grow in, people waiting for the child’s birth and two possible ways to exit (through the vagina or through a temporary opening in the belly). The narrative leaves lots of room for child listeners to see their own stories, and it even invites conversation. “Who was waiting for you to be born?” Lively illustrations done with heavy lines inked in a cartoon style make extensive use of color à la Todd Parr. They feature children and adults of strikingly varying ages, skin colors (lots of greens, blues and purples, some grays, pinks and oranges) and apparent abilities or disabilities. This book was born as a Kickstarter project and self-published, first, in 2012.

Designed for all kinds of children in all kinds of families, this will be particularly welcome in adoptive and nontraditional families but is, uniquely, an appealing and informative complement to early sex-education discussions with any child. (Informational picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60980-485-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Seven Stories

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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