Where will the lovable Bear and his best friend travel next? (Picture book. 2-5)

READ REVIEW

WHAT'S UP, BEAR?

A BOOK ABOUT OPPOSITES

A trip to the Big Apple is fraught with anxiety for Sophie’s stuffed bear in this tour-cum–opposite book.

Sophie is thrilled to be visiting New York City with her dad; Bear is not as excited. Left-hand pages present one sentence from Sophie’s perspective, while right-hand pages detail Bear’s experiences. Bolded words in each introduce opposites: up and down for the airplane ride, fast and slow for the taxi trip, tall and short when comparing themselves to Manhattan’s skyscrapers. While not all the sights are specific to New York, readers will recognize LaGuardia Airport, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the Museum of Natural History, and of course, the subway (the 3 train) in Moore’s brightly colored digital illustrations. (The endpapers provide further facts about each of these places.) When Sophie and her dad head to a toy store, though, the tale takes a darker turn as Bear questions his self-worth and then is lost amid all the other bears at the store: fancy/plain, new/old, big/small, forgot/remember. Happily, he wears an address tag that helps him reunite with Sophie: lost/found. Throughout, readers will be captivated by both Sophie’s and Bear’s facial expressions; Sophie’s exuberance is obvious, while the patched and well-loved Bear looks like he might lose his lunch after riding the subway.

Where will the lovable Bear and his best friend travel next? (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-926973-41-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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