Less tangible than a kissing hand, though it may prove comforting for some.

UNDER THE LOVE UMBRELLA

Readers follow four children through difficult times as the unnamed narrator describes the “love umbrella” that is above each of them.

“Up in the sky, among the stars / There’s something you might not see… // But over your head and just above / There’s an umbrella of my love / To show it’s you I’m thinking of / Wherever you might be.” The first-person narrator, though never revealed, is clearly each loved one who shelters and soothes. The four children—Joe, Brian, Grace, and Izzy—are racially diverse, as are their families, and are introduced opposite the title page, giving readers a mission: to count the umbrellas they find (no answer is revealed). They face scary shadows, friends that don’t share, shyness, moving, and such everyday childhood issues as wet pants, a lost tooth, and a parent’s rushing them. No worry can last under a love umbrella, but Bell may reach too far when she writes, “I will never not be near / Holding our love umbrella.” For children whose caregivers are absent, for whatever reason, the titular concept may ring false or cause pain. Colpoys’ striking illustrations, which combine an earth palette with day-glo highlights, effectively show love umbrellas both imagined (stars in the sky, a cloud) and real (a beach umbrella, a rain umbrella, a sun shade).

Less tangible than a kissing hand, though it may prove comforting for some. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947534-97-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scribble

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more