Morris is one well-intentioned papa, though this sentimental message would be better served by a subtler storyline.

MOLE'S BABIES

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery for this nervous first-time dad.

Expectant parents Mini and Morris Mole prepare for the blessed event. Mini knits while Morris anxiously studies the happy babes in the barnyard, hoping he can replicate their daddies' natural behaviors. His attempt to hop like a bunny catapults him one-pawed over the toadstool, and he falls flat on his snout—and so on. Unable to copy any animal, Morris appears to be a natural klutz. Repeatedly, Mini gently redirects Morris after confirming that he is uninjured. “Good,… because our babies are on their way!” Morris' final fall is greeted with silence, and upon investigating he finds Mini cuddling their three new family additions. Morris' earnestness is endearing. Varied typography highlights word choices; decorative hearts surround "hand-lettered" verbs like “flapping” and "splashing." Panels reveal shifts in time and movement. There's an unforced fluidity in the parents' nonverbal communication. Unfortunately, the couple's good intentions are undermined by the simplistic slant. “Our babies only need love,” the proud mom explains.

Morris is one well-intentioned papa, though this sentimental message would be better served by a subtler storyline. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58925-108-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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