Readers may leave this book wishing their own parental units might be “misplaced,” if only so that they can visit this...

THE BUREAU OF MISPLACED DADS

A gently surreal tale of a boy who must sift through throngs of abandoned fathers while on the hunt for his own.

The worst feeling? You’re sitting at the breakfast table coloring and you realize you’ve misplaced your dad. In this tale, a boy’s search takes him to the Bureau of Misplaced Dads. The director informs the kid that “at least 20 or 30 dads wander in every day,” including striped-sweater dads, weeping dads, and even a couple that have been released back into the wild (this “wild” is just outside the bureau’s back door). When offered an array of adoptable dads, the boy is tempted. Fortunately, now he is able to remember where his own father may be. The word “misplaced” sets the right tone, clarifying early on that the boy will certainly find the right papa. The whimsically deadpan art keeps the tale upbeat, contrasting the wide array of hopeful, physically dissimilar dads against one another. Sadly, the book is not without the occasional creepy moment, like the leering dad lurking in a cardboard box with a knife and fork in hand. Still, it’s hard not to be charmed by the dads on display, including a “dad who always looks like he’s just gotten out of bed” and a “dad from Strasbourg, wearing his daughter’s bonnet,” among others.

Readers may leave this book wishing their own parental units might be “misplaced,” if only so that they can visit this bureau. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77138-238-0

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 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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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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