This delightful story is a feast for the eyes and ears, and it will hold up well to repeated demands from eager young...

READ REVIEW

A GREYHOUND, A GROUNDHOG

Friendship blossoms between canine and rodent in this paean to the sheer joy of being alive.

A greyhound and a groundhog are startled to meet, one waking from a nap and the other popping out of a burrow. Before long, however, they are frolicking together, romping about and running through meadows before finally collapsing in satisfied fatigue. Jenkins’ playful text (“A round hound, a grey dog, a round little hound dog. / A greyhog, a ground dog, a hog little hound dog”) has a catchy rhythm that begs to be read out loud. The text dances across the page, perfectly in sync with the watercolor pictures; on one page the line “and a sound” hovers beside the splash created by the greyhound’s foot, its curvature visually echoing the arc of the water. By varying perspective and distance, Appelhans creates dynamic, high-energy illustrations that maintain interest despite featuring only two characters against a plain, minimalist background. Readers look down on the two friends from above as they spin in giddy circles and see them in comical close-up as a butterfly flits past. Groundhog bursts from the end of a hollow log, paws outstretched, about to soar above the heads of readers, who have a ground-level view of the action.

This delightful story is a feast for the eyes and ears, and it will hold up well to repeated demands from eager young listeners. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-49805-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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