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)

READ REVIEW

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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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