While this introduction may help a few pre-preschoolers, there are better options out there


Codell walks children step by step through the sights, sounds and activities of preschool.

“What’s at home? What’s at school? / What’s different, what’s the same? / Let’s go to a preschool room / and see what we can name.” The first several pages mention common preschool objects and activities that observant readers can spot in the watercolor-and–digital-collage artwork. From there, Codell goes on to describe some of the regular parts of a preschool day: circle time, nap, art, and cleanup time, among others. Pages are also devoted to such once-in-a-while things as fire drills and field trips, as well as those all-important preschool (and life) skills of sharing and using manners. With a deeper nod than usual to those kids who may be having a tough time, Codell writes about “thinking-about-home time,” offering a poem that will have kids pondering what adults do when their children aren’t around. The sometimes wordy text is a mix of free and inconsistently rhyming verse that can make for a difficult read-aloud; the audience’s lack of reading skill precludes this being anything but. In a scratchy, scribbly style reminiscent of preschool, Ramá moves away from her usual round-headed, rosy-cheeked children for a less distinctly drawn classroom full of multiracial kids.

While this introduction may help a few pre-preschoolers, there are better options out there . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-145518-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.


Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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