Lots of fun.

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BEASTLY BABIES

A simple rhyming text celebrates some shared characteristics of baby animals.

Jackson catalogs a variety of animal offspring (“Babies can be smooth or hairy, / quail or whale or dromedary”) and their behaviors: “Tiger babies pounce and fail / when they aim for mama’s tail”; “Baby buffalo get grumpy. / Baby kangaroos get jumpy.” The rhymes have a brisk quality that will keep the pages turning. Wenzel’s bright illustrations, “rendered in almost everything imaginable,” will grab the attention of small listeners. The wild profusion of young creatures, leaping, tumbling, and running as animal parents hover and peer from foliage nearby, is hilarious. All have round eyes and a kind of manic look, on the stern side for the parents (perfect in the cranky protectiveness of the mama tiger) but ready to go and full of spark for the babies. Jackson uses the mostly frowned-upon “octopi” as a plural for “octopus” (possibly for the sake of scansion) but otherwise seems to avoid zoological missteps. The unspoken reassurance—all babies are loved—is there, along with the important affirmation that growing up is both a little bit messy and a little bit chaotic. Toddlers may especially relish their status as creatures slightly older than babies while enjoying the affectionate tone of the text and art.

Lots of fun. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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 good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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