This message of friendship, though oft told, bears repeating, especially for the youngest readers.

EVERY LITTLE LETTER

An allegory about accepting one another, one letter at a time.

In a land where high walls separate each of the 26 letters (seen in the endpapers), life is rather monotonous. The H’s live only with other H’s and therefore speak just one letter: H. The same is true for the rest of the alphabet, all walled off and safe from one another. Then an intrepid lowercase h discovers a hole in the wall, reaches through, and discovers…a lowercase i! Ecstatic, they greet each other, but their happiness is cut short when the capital letters discover and forbid their friendship. Disheartened, the two friends send letters (in the form of paper airplanes) that soar over many walls, unexpectedly offering new opportunities to x’s, b’s, y’s, and more. Once again the capital letters try to interfere, but the lowercase letters have discovered that the most important words of all—“courage,” “kindness,” “trust”—are made up of many letters and can break down walls. Expressive, anthropomorphic letters, set in a bright, pastel palette, lend the book a cartoon look and feel that keeps the story lighthearted. Spreads alternate between vignettes and full-page illustrations to keep readers engaged. Even pre-readers will recognize letters set in bold, big shapes, enabling caregivers to incorporate early-literacy lessons into the read-aloud experience.

This message of friendship, though oft told, bears repeating, especially for the youngest readers. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55402-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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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Another solid addition to the beloved series.

LLAMA LLAMA BACK TO SCHOOL

Summertime with all its pleasures is coming to an end, and school will soon begin again. What challenges will the new school year bring for Llama?

Told in a by-now-trademark rhyming verse style and accompanied by adorable, cheerful oil paint, colored pencil, and oil pastel illustrations, this story finds Llama taking pleasure in all the fun that summer brings—and hoping it will never be over. “Fishing, hiking, slip and slide. / Backyard camping, picnic time.” But as sure as one season follows another, fall is on its way and school will be starting again. Mamma Llama takes Llama shopping for new school supplies, but the expression on little Llama’s face makes it clear that preparing to return to school is anything but fun. Soon, the first day of school comes, and Llama is ready. There are so many rules: “Be on time. / Don’t push or shove. Stand in line. / Do not shout. Raise your hand.” “Lunch in cubbies. Coats on hooks.” But these are seasoned students, and they take it in stride. All except for one: A young rhino is new and feeling scared. Llama knows just what to do, sharing crayons and showing the newcomer how to glue. Soon the rhino is part of the gang. As is characteristic of the series, this is one more situation familiar to many a young child solved in sweet Llama style. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Another solid addition to the beloved series. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35244-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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