While handsome, as a pop-up counting book, this doesn’t stand out.

0-20

Small of trim size and simple of design, this blocky companion to Aa To Zz: A Pop-Up Alphabet (2015) pairs single- and double-digit pop-up numerals with equivalent arrays of countable items.

Each spread, when held open at 90 degrees, makes a tidy display. A white pop-up numeral formed by reverse folds at the center is flanked by the appropriate spelled-out number from “zero” to “twenty” in lowercase sans serif along the right edge. On the left are small, white silhouettes of cats, pinwheels, teddy bears, and like familiar images (with occasional fugitives drifting to the other side) against single-hued color fields. Hawcock shows less ingenuity in his use of space and edges to shape forms here than in his foray into the alphabet, but he plays with both the nature and the arrangements of the images to provide a mild sense of unpredictability. He also carries the numbering past the more-venturesome likes of Kees Moerbeek’s Count 1 to 10 (2011) or Marion Bataille’s 10 (2011), if not so far as David Carter’s 100 (2013).

While handsome, as a pop-up counting book, this doesn’t stand out. (Pop-up picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-85707-898-5

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Tango Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last.

GREEN IS FOR CHRISTMAS

Familiar crayon characters argue over which color is the essential Christmas color.

Green starts by saying that green is for Christmas. After all, green is for holly. But Red objects. Red is for candy canes. Green is for fir trees, Green retorts. But Red is for Santa Claus, who agrees. (Santa is depicted as a white-bearded White man.) Then White joins the fray. After spending the year being invisible, White isn’t giving up the distinction of association with Christmas. Snow, anyone? But then there’s Silver: stars and bells. And Brown: cookies and reindeer! At this point, everyone is confused. But they come together and agree that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without all of them together. Someone may get the last word, though. In Daywalt and Jeffers’ now-signature style, the crayon-written text is spare and humorous, while the crayon characters engage with each other against a bare white background, vying for attention. Dot-eyed faces and stick legs on each object turn them all into comical, if similar, personalities. But the series’ original cleverness is absent here, leaving readers with a perfunctory recitation of attributes. Fans of the crayon books may delight in another themed installment; those who aren’t already fans will likely find it lacking. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-35338-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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