It’s sweet, but it does not reflect the diverse realities of families and people in the world today.

LOVE YOU ALWAYS

The latest new-baby gift book tells how children are loved by their family members no matter what.

Gentle rhyming verses with a nice rhythm and repetition are great for reading aloud, though they can be a bit treacly: “You can giggle, cry, or pout, / but you are loved without a doubt, / upside-down and inside-out! / Mama loves you always.” These verses spend some more time on Mama and Daddy before devoting shorter space to Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, Uncle, Cousin, and Family Friend, (leaving out siblings), covering all the bases but only for those families that fit the “traditional” nuclear-family mold; these days they are increasingly rare. In a move that may be frustrating to readers, many of Flint’s watercolor, crayon, ink, and digital illustrations, especially at the beginning, don’t show the adorable, pink-cheeked tots interacting with their family members. Instead, they are engaging in an activity, usually alone, in a vignette against a white background. This also serves to point up the lack of diversity in the characters; the vast majority of the children and adults pictured here are white; just two children are black, and one other has brown skin and black hair. (By and large clothing is also stereotyped blue and pink.)

It’s sweet, but it does not reflect the diverse realities of families and people in the world today. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8249-5686-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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