Bucolic bedtime done right.

CLICK, CLACK, GOOD NIGHT

From the Click Clack Book series

Will Duck ever get some shut-eye?

“It is nighttime on the farm. / Everyone is tired. / It is time to relax, / unwind, and unplug.” Farmer Brown turns out the “cow light,” and the cows nestle down to sleep in the dark. He gives the sheep a brush, turns out the “sheep light,” and they start snoozing. The chickens need a night light, but they are ready to sleep too. Ever the contrarian, Duck, of course, needs some coaxing. Farmer Brown sings to him, reads to him, does yoga with him, even reads and discusses the top news stories of the day…but when Duck’s light goes out, Duck can’t sleep. (Farmer Brown is zonked in his rocker.) Duck tries sleeping with each of the other groups of farm animals, but no situation is exactly right. Duck finds a nice place under a tree—but “Chit, chat, chitter”: The bats keep him awake. By the pond, the frogs keep him up. Duck knows a good place to sleep…so when the elderly White farmer finally makes his way to bed, he finds he has a bunkmate. Some may be surprised this duo hasn’t done a good-night book before now; this will satisfy fans and work as a bedtime story for anyone who doesn’t know the series (if such exists). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-15.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 71.3% of actual size.)

Bucolic bedtime done right. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5108-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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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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