Imaginative play leads to inventive solutions in this sweet sibling tale.

ALPHONSE, THERE'S MUD ON THE CEILING!

Alphonse and Natalie, the lovable, active preschool monster siblings from Alphonse, That Is Not OK To Do! (2016) and I Do Not Like Books Anymore! (2018), are back with a way to enjoy nature and the outdoors from their seventh-floor apartment.

Playing indoors can be fun for the children if they use their imagination. They can drive their bunk bed, tumble in the hallway, and hide behind the big green chair and then leap out with a “Raaaar!” But when they play wiggly worms all over the small apartment and start to bump and upset things like Dad’s coffee, then: “NATALIEALPHONSE, that is not a good game for indoors!” The kids begin to bemoan the fact that, unlike their friend Elfrida, who has a backyard with a tent for sleeping, they have no backyard space, and so Natalie declares, “I’m going to live in the park.” Ever patient and supportive Dad agrees, and they all go out to “have an expedition.” After exploring and living under a bush for a while, they collect some sticks and head back to the apartment, with sticks to build a tent on the balcony. Bold, bright colors against white space depict the familiarly fiendish family’s third installment in a very familiar scenario, one that offers gentle guidance to caregivers as well as affirmation and inspiration to children.

Imaginative play leads to inventive solutions in this sweet sibling tale. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1117-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 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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A cozy year-round delight.

I LOVE YOU ALL YEAR THROUGH

Animal caregivers express their love for their little ones throughout the seasons in this addition to the “I love you” shelf.

Markers of the seasons loom large in this salute to parent-child bonds—spring blossoms and rains, autumn leaves, the summer sun and haze. “I love you in the winter / when the frost is on the trees. // When ice lights up the night / and snowflakes drift upon the breeze.” Stansbie’s gentle rhymes continue in this pattern through spring, summer, and autumn before summing the year up: “In wind and rain and sun, / from dawn to dusk and all year through… // You are my darling precious one. / Forever I’ll love you!” A different duo is shown on each spread, and the animals are familiar favorites: bear, fox, deer, rabbit, bird, otter, horse, lion, wolf, red squirrel, whale, and polar bear. Simple though gorgeously dappled backgrounds capture the basics of the animals’ various habitats. Mason’s use of light is masterful; many of the illustrations capture the animals at golden hour, and this contributes to the cozy mood evoked by the text. Though the animals’ expressions tend toward anthropomorphism, most of their actions are natural.

A cozy year-round delight. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984851-49-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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