This bumpy goodnight journey won’t likely lead to golden slumbers. (Picture book. 3-5)

GOODNIGHT WORLD

A rhyming journey around a child’s world just before bedtime.

Swooping, colorful motifs on each spread and lilting couplets invite the familiar practice of bidding goodnight to vehicles, flowers, and animals big and small that later appear as toys in a child’s bedroom. Beginning in the stratosphere, the story tours various ecological habitats before landing at last in the bedroom of a white child whose parents are settling down for bed. Unfortunately, the book’s artwork falls short of lulling readers. Importantly, penguins and sea lions are more likely to be found in the Antarctic than the Arctic, as implied here. Disjointed organization transports readers from oceans under northern lights to trains and rocket ships, from birds, bees, and deep-sea fish to a sleepy zoo. Inconsistent scale and proportion pose further problems. What looks like a young white girl walking a dog outside soon disappears, while inside the house a few page turns later is a white woman reaching for the child (perhaps she is mother?), with the same dog curled up nearby. Additionally, the text, though at times endearing (“Goodnight lights above, aglow”), at other times hiccups a bit (“Goodnight moon, goodnight sun. / Goodnight, goodnight, to everyone”). Uneven meter and unclear meaning interrupt an otherwise soothing read-aloud.

This bumpy goodnight journey won’t likely lead to golden slumbers. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-363-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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Animated and educational.

I'M A HARE, SO THERE!

A hare and a ground squirrel banter about the differences between related animals that are often confused for one another.

Jack is “no Flopsy, Mopsy, or Cottontail,” but a “H-A-R-E, hare!” Like sheep and goats, or turtles and tortoises, rabbits and hares may look similar, but hares are bigger, their fur changes color in the winter, and they are born with their eyes wide open. As the ground squirrel (not to be mistaken for a chipmunk (even though Jack cheekily calls it “Chippie”) and Jack engage in playful discussion about animals, a sneaky coyote prowls after them through the Sonoran Desert. This picture book conveys the full narrative in spirited, speech-bubbled dialogue set on expressive illustrations of talking animals. Dark outlines around the characters make their shapes pop against the softly blended colors of the desert backgrounds. Snappy back-and-forth paired with repetition and occasional rhyme enhances the story’s appeal as a read-aloud. As the story progresses, the colors of the sky shift from dawn to dusk, providing subtle, visual bookends for the narrative. One page of backmatter offers a quick guide to eight easily confused pairs, and a second turns a subsequent exploration of the book into a seek-and-find of 15 creatures (and one dessert) hidden in the desert. Unfortunately, while most of the creatures from the seek-and-find appear in poses that match the illustrations in the challenge, not all of them are consistently represented. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 53.3% of actual size.)

Animated and educational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-12506-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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