A lovely way of looking back on the year with a child who may not realize he or she has “bloomed.” (Picture book. 3-7)

BLOOM

Paralleling the planting of a garden in the fall and its blooming is the growth of a young girl and all the milestones that happen between fall and spring.

Diesen never makes the comparison overt, which makes this book all the more delightful. “Do you remember when we planted those flower bulbs together?” In a flashback that lasts until the final three spreads, a white, redheaded mother recounts the fun of that fall day spent with her mixed-race daughter (dad has brown skin and black hair). Vignettes capture the passage of time and all the things that have happened since then: the first day of school, a family vacation, a swimming medal, a lost tooth, several holidays, a broken arm, a birthday, a snowstorm. The mom had almost forgotten about those bulbs. But under the ground, as the seasons turned, they were pushing down roots, sending up stems, and blooming. (Lundquist’s spread illustrating this is gorgeous and captures both the changing seasons aboveground and the underground growth.) The final three spreads show the mother and daughter venturing out in a spring rain in their slickers and boots to see what has grown. The seemingly watercolor illustrations capture both the family members’ love for one another and the beauty of the natural world.

A lovely way of looking back on the year with a child who may not realize he or she has “bloomed.” (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30250-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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