WHERE DID YOU COME FROM, BABY DEAR?

This book may have the most appeal as a gift book for spiritually minded new parents.

Paired with new illustrations by Dyer, MacDonald’s imaginative poem reads as a Q-and-A between a wondering family and their amazing new baby.

Opening with a full-color spread of swaddled newborns of many races, the text begins with the titular query and continues, focusing on a different baby with each new question, always in full-color. Baby’s responses recount magical moments on the path through the cosmos and appear with illustrations done in heavenly blue. “What makes your cheek like a warm wild rose? / I saw something better than anyone knows.” Exhumed from the 19th century, the poem captures a theistic, if fanciful belief in a Creator. “Where did you get this pearly ear? / God spoke, and it came out to hear.” For much of the book, inquiries appear on verso with replies on the recto, creating a perfect rhythm for page turns. When the pattern changes to include question and answer on the same page, readers will need a moment to adjust, especially since the lines appear in identical font. Dyer’s chubby, cherubic, multicultural babies are almost always cheerful as they tumble, roll, and float across the page. The most satisfying page for new caregivers may be the one featuring vignettes of babies cuddled by family members.

This book may have the most appeal as a gift book for spiritually minded new parents. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-50919-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

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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