AGAIN!

Gravett, that master of the metafictive die cut, returns for a savvy bedtime satire.

It’s time for this little green dragon’s bedtime story. Clutching a blankie, it snuggles up to its parent dragon for the story of fierce Cedric the red dragon, who wreaks havoc every night. “Again?” pleads the little dragon, holding up the red, clothbound storybook (readers who remove the paper jacket will see that it’s exactly the book that they are holding). The patient parent reads it again, with a little editorial revision: “At nighttime when Cedric SHOULD be asleep….” And again: “Cedric the dragon’s a big sleepyhead. / He’s decided it’s time / HE WAS REALLY IN BED.” With each iteration, the storybook’s illustration changes, and Cedric transforms from a fire-breathing terror to a princess-kissing softie. At the fourth, parent dragon conks out, the ZZZs from its snoring mingling with the few letters on the storybook’s page. Enraged, the little green dragon begins to turn red, shouting, “AGAIN! AGAIN! AGAIN!” Fully red after several futile repetitions, it puts some firepower behind its final “AGAIN,” burning a hole through the last page and back cover. The storybook characters escape, luckily (and, though unseen, so does parent dragon, human parents will no doubt note). This little bit of bedtime foolery feels a little incomplete, but it should strike a chord—and it’s far wittier than the similarly themed Go the Fuck to Sleep. (Picture book. 3-6)

 

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5231-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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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 visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

ONE FAMILY

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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