It’s hard not to love this one—just like an indulgent grandpa.

WHEN A GRANDPA SAYS "I LOVE YOU"

 “When a Grandpa says ‘I love you,’ / he doesn’t always say it / in the regular way. / That would be just a little too…regular.”

Wood and Bell’s follow-up to When a Dad Says “I Love You” (2013) features anthropomorphic grandpa-kid pairs of animals demonstrating all the various unregular ways grandpas can say “I love you.” They might try to teach you to wink, though it usually only results in a blink. They might repeatedly teach you to tie your shoes. He might say it “by buying you / a double-scoop ice-cream cone / on a hot summer day. / And then by helping you eat it / if it melts too fast.” He might teach you to throw a special pitch or pretend to love your tea at a tea party. He might teach you to play old-fashioned games like checkers or try to learn a newfangled game on the computer. “But most of all, a grandpa says / ‘I love you’ just by being… // Your grandpa!” This appealing—but free of saccharine—exploration of that special intergenerational relationship would be great for Grandparents Day or just an “I love you” storytime. Bell’s softly smudgy, crosshatched pencil illustrations show animal grandpas and kids in a bounty of recognizable, everyday situations.

It’s hard not to love this one—just like an indulgent grandpa. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-689-81512-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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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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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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