Children will say, “Yes!” to this delightful charmer.

YES & NO

The maxim that cats and dogs get along like…well, cats and dogs, is upended.

The unseen guardian of a cat and dog awakens the pets cheerfully, asks how they slept, offers breakfast, invites them to clean up and play together, then suggests they frolic outside. To every comment, the canine responds affirmatively; the feline—quite the opposite. For example, does it want food? Answer: “I already ate.” Will it help clean? The haughty response: “Never.” Backyard merriment doesn’t go well, as the dog attacks the clothesline and digs holes, and the cat climbs a tree. Finally commanded to play together farther from home, the duo are depicted wordlessly marveling at nature in engaging, colorful panoramic spreads. Eventually, they have a grand time—and the tables get turned. When the owner finally summons the pair home, the cat willingly complies. However, the pooch, now the naysaying contrarian, only reluctantly accedes to its human’s ideas, expressing sorrow the great day is over. A calming, reassuring reminder to the dog at the conclusion sets things right, and, in a comic twist, the animals’ customary natures are restored. This sweet, gentle story reminds youngsters that yes and no have their proper places and times and that all good things don’t necessarily end. The deceptively simply drawn, definitively lined ink-and-watercolor illustrations with their limited palette capture the animals’ lively personalities well; ample white space focuses attention on their activities. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 85.9% of actual size.)

Children will say, “Yes!” to this delightful charmer. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-25733-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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