This attempt to convey big ideas enjoys little success.

READ REVIEW

YOU BIG AND ME SMALL

Size matters.

At least it does to the lion, king of the animals, who begrudgingly welcomes a little orphaned elephant seeking shelter at his palace. The pair becomes inseparable, enjoying stories and games. Years pass; the elephant grows, as small creatures do. The lion, never large anyway, has stopped growing, as is the wont of adults. The relationship sours; the king demands reassurance that, despite the size differential, he is dominant. The elephant, as big in character as in stature and girth, repeatedly allows that the king is big and he is small. Appeasement doesn’t work, and the king banishes the elephant. Much later the elephant encounters the now-wizened, forlorn lion, who concedes he was overthrown for arrogance and pride. The elephant staunchly proclaims the lion is still royal and big, and they return to the palace. This odd French fable, a Canadian import, seems aimed to convey messages about the folly of false pride and the beauty of true friendship. Are readers also warned about parent-child relationships? If so, how—should kids not grow, or adults will abandon them? The narrative’s lack of clarity, abetted by uneven translation (occasional mixing of tenses), is softened somewhat by vivid if static oil paintings. Readers will appreciate the elephant’s bemused expressiveness but may find the depiction of the lion with human face and extremities creepy.

This attempt to convey big ideas enjoys little success. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-2281-0000-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more