THE SKY WRITER

There is something that tugs at the heart in this softly illustrated, quietly told story. A sensitive child who is aware of the transience of youth and the passage of time, and who believes in the possibility of magic that manifests itself in toys that speak, may savor this book. A young boy, Charles, and his older sister, both outgrow playing with the tiny figures of a pilot, a soldier and a baker who go for rides in a small single-engine plane. At one time, the toys told the children “wonderful things,” but then “they stopped.” Now, the children need to clear their playroom to make way for a new baby. Old, worn, broken toys are taken to the trash, but Charles dreams about the plane tipping its wings to say goodbye and in the morning rescues plane and figures. Nolan’s quiet, textured illustrations give toys and children enormous personality, beautifully complementing the matter-of-fact narration that gives voice to the playthings. Both combine in an understatement that defies the saccharine but instead honors childish imaginations. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59643-252-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Still, this may be just the ticket for harried moms who want to point out all they do for their kids and get a little help...

HOW TO RAISE A MOM

From the How To... series

Mothers finally get their due from Reagan and Wildish, who instruct readers on how to raise a happy and healthy mom.

A white brother-and-sister pair are readers’ guides, and the day starts with how to wake Mom up: let her sleep in a little, kiss her, and serve breakfast in bed (in Wildish’s humorous digital illustrations, whole fruits—including a pineapple and a lime—a box of popcorn, and juice). The kids ready Mom for the day by dressing her (!) and piling everything necessary at the door. Stuck in a long line at the store? If a surprise treat and acting silly fail, just say, “Thank you so much, Sweet Pea, for being so patient.” The day continues with time for work, outside play, and relaxing, followed by some tips about eating vegetables and bedtime routines. While many of the pages are laugh-out-loud funny, this misses the mark in terms of consistency, sometimes prodding kids to do nice things (breakfast in bed, tidy up for her), sometimes reversing the parent and child roles (the hilarious scene in the store), and other times just showing what moms regularly do anyway (playing outdoors, sitting and chatting with another mom on a “playdate”).

Still, this may be just the ticket for harried moms who want to point out all they do for their kids and get a little help in return—sly fun in other words. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-53829-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

more