The sturdy binding and exceptionally thick pages make this and its companion acceptable choices where board books get heavy...



From the Baby Sparkle series

A sturdy, serviceable board book features babies doing what babies do best—look cute.

The text takes the form of prompts, as if from a photographer in a studio. “Make a smiley, happy face. / Hee! Hee! Hee!” The first, smiling baby has curly brown hair and light-brown skin, but the other five in this brief album are light-skinned, albeit charming. The text is wordy to accommodate the awkwardly forced rhymes that stretch over two double-page spreads. “Be really grumpy with me!” concludes the rhyme begun on the previous spread with “Hee! Hee! Hee!” Moreover, that “Be really grumpy with me!” paired with a picture of a distraught, crying child seems rather mean-spirited. Saying simply, “Make a smiley, happy face,” “Make a sad and gloomy face,” and so on would have avoided this problem while keeping the text age appropriate, giving it a genuine feel, and avoiding the singsong tone. The rhymes in Baby Night-night, published simultaneously, work somewhat better, though rhyming “ting-a-ling” with “begin” is a stretch.  Foil stripes on the covers and sparkly textures inside seem designed to make this Baby Sparkle series stand out on the shelf, but these decorative features have no relationship to the content of each title. The claim on the back cover that “sparkly patterns stimulate baby's vision” may sell books to eager young parents but is not backed up by scientific research.

The sturdy binding and exceptionally thick pages make this and its companion acceptable choices where board books get heavy use. (Board book. 6 mos.-1)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4654-4466-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A happily multisensory exploration.


From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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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