Radiates joy and the carefree fun of days in the sun.

SUNNY DAYS

Young children delight in sun-filled activities throughout spring and summer.

From its bright, wondrous wake-up call to its gentle, gradual goodbye, the sun is a friendly constant, providing warmth, light, and opportunities to explore the outside world. Children are depicted taking part in familiar activities such as reading in an outdoor patch of sunlight, planting seeds, making mud pies, and swimming at the beach. These experiences take place in an urban landscape, grassy yard, farm, and beach with lighthouse in the background. Similar to the text in its companion book, Snow Days (2020), simple rhyming couplets create a playful, upbeat tone: "Ocean sun: flash and glimmer / Kick and paddle, little swimmer." A vivid color palette bursting with highly saturated hues pairs well with collage to create richly layered scenes that will capture young readers’ interest. The changing position of the sun and use of embroidery for its rays evoke various moods and signal different times of day in each spread. The use of mixed media allows various textures to jump off the page, giving the book an almost 3-D feel. The multiracial cast of children featured have a diverse mix of skin tones and hair colors.

Radiates joy and the carefree fun of days in the sun. (suggested activities) (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77278-197-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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