Sweet and effective.

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ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!

It’s tough having a little brother, even if you’re a monster.

“Once there was Natalie,” a little red monster with big bulging eyes. “And then, there was Alphonse too,” bright blue and about half her size. Natalie doesn’t mind Alphonse, “mostly.” They sit companionably in Mom’s lap to listen to a story. They like to name the pigeons together and love making things. But sometimes Alphonse gets carried away, drawing on things that Natalie has made—even eating them. Natalie hates that. One day she finds him under the bunk beds eating her favorite book. “ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!” she shouts. When Alphonse timidly suggests that maybe they could fix the book (“with jam”), Natalie puts her fingers in her ears so that she can’t hear him, then goes for her bath. While she’s in the tub, she hears a series of strange noises: “a roaring tornado, / screeching beasts, and a thousand glass peas raining from the sky.” Natalie finds Alphonse in his room, sad and exhausted. All the noises that she heard were his outlandish attempts to fix the book. Her only question: “Are you hurt?” Hirst’s screen-printed illustrations, bright primary palette, simple text, and even her bespoke, faux hand-printed typeface (WB Natalie Alphonse) suggest the work of a young child, giving her simple tale an authentic charm.

Sweet and effective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8103-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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