Lap cuddlers listening to this sweet read-aloud will get all the snuggles they need.

EVERYBODY DESERVES A HUG

This picture book by a father-daughter team features adorable monsters sharing friendly hugs.

As furry and multihued monsters demonstrate warm embraces, the rhyming narration defines hugs as “a loving squeeze, an inward tug.” No matter what size or age, no matter the season, the narrator continues, everyone wants to be held sometimes. The poem goes on to describe different types of positive actions: helping a young child to stand, cuddling in a group, sharing a smile or laugh, showing what makes each individual unique, being respectful, needing to cry, and even letting people have their own space. The inclusion of the last is an important balance to an otherwise high-contact work, especially for youngsters who may not like hugs as much as their peers. Renée Snelson’s cartoonish monsters all have long eyelashes, heart-shaped noses, shaggy fur in a wide variety of beautifully tinted colors, and expressive tails. The dynamic images show plenty of action as well as an assortment of loving embraces. Doug Snelson’s rhymes scan well, although a few take the imagery astray or use a metaphor that might go over the heads of the youngest readers: “Everybody needs to love. / Around the world, follow the dove.”

Lap cuddlers listening to this sweet read-aloud will get all the snuggles they need.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9777811-2-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Petalous Publishing, LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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