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Rather bland, especially given the titular food’s customary spice.

Baby Bear travels to Arizona with Papa Bear and discovers…tacos.

Papa Bear tells his family they can come on his business trip, but Mama Bear can’t go because she’s busy with a library book sale. Baby Bear worries about myriad things she usually manages, but Papa Bear assures him he’ll take care of everything. Readers may raise an eyebrow at Baby Bear’s perception of his father’s ineptitude, but all goes well—mercifully without hackneyed Mr. Mom mishaps. The duo enjoy their flight, swim in the hotel pool, explore “the colorful streets,” and order tacos at a restaurant, but while the bright cartoon illustrations will feel familiar to those who know Asch’s work, they do little to expand on the staid text. The fact that these are Baby Bear’s first tacos may also leave readers wondering how the anthropomorphic cub hasn’t encountered such a ubiquitous food. Indeed, the depiction of Arizona makes it seem like a strange and unfamiliar locale, belying the diversity of the United States and the Latine presence throughout the country. Also potentially confusing is the lack of attention to Papa Bear’s business on this trip and what Baby Bear does during Papa’s work time. The pair’s return home is happy once Papa Bear assures Baby Bear that they can make and eat tacos there, too. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Rather bland, especially given the titular food’s customary spice. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9781481480666

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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