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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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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