Cardboard boxes and duct tape are sure to turn up missing in many a household as spaceships roar into screen-free adventures.

SPACE BOY AND THE SNOW MONSTER

Sneering punk snowmen—check. Crazed killer snow bunny—check. Rampaging fanged snow monster—check. Space boy Niko’s third rip-roaring adventure is ready for takeoff.

But trusty co-pilot Radar the robot is missing! All clues lead to the Snow Monster’s lair on Planet Ice. Upon landing, Niko spots the monster—who sounds suspiciously like his big sister, Posh. The Posh Monster is wily and has an army of menacing, mohawked snowpunks awaiting the indomitable space boy and his space dog, Tag. They’re attacked. Frozen projectiles fly! Ducking and weaving, Niko follows Snow Bunny’s tracks to Radar—the rescue mission is a success. But wait! The frosty cottontail’s eyes are glowing red, and are those fangs? “Killer Bunnies are not to be trusted!” Can they possibly escape? Niko’s impassioned play-by-play narrative flawlessly mimics that of kids boisterously immersed in dramatic worldbuilding. Regan’s minichapters and short, exclamatory sentences sustain the escalating tension, while Neubecker’s wacky illustrations augment the humor by orchestrating action shots counter to Niko’s script. For instance, as Niko blasts into space to find “lost” Radar, the poor robot is shown desperately hanging onto the ship’s horizontal stabilizer, and the “cautiously” advancing dog is pictured cavorting above the drifts with joyous abandon. Each detail-packed frame energetically propels the story forward with chuckle-inducing results.

Cardboard boxes and duct tape are sure to turn up missing in many a household as spaceships roar into screen-free adventures. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59078-957-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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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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