SOMETIMES DADDIES ARE...

Leave this daddy book on the shelf.

A rhino child lists many different aspects of daddy-ness.

Daddies can act like babies or animals, can be too big or too rough, can be distracted or forgetful, and so on. As the child runs through this list, readers see a rhino family composed of mother, father, the preschool-age narrator, and a baby. This daddy, though he goes on the occasional business trip, is the very paragon of a present dad, playing with his children with evident glee. He gives horsey rides, takes the family to the zoo and on other outings, splashes in an inflatable backyard pool, and flings his children in the air to everybody’s obvious delight. For all this rhino dad’s focus on his children, van Genechten still reinforces the stereotype of the mother as primary caregiver in a scene in which the dad comes home from the market with everything except diapers. This Belgian/Dutch import also includes several scenes of playacting as American Indians, with a toy tepee in the background and feathered headbands for both father and child, the latter of whom also wears a faux buckskin dress and carries a bow and arrow in two double-page spreads. Haphazard continuity will have children wondering whether these depicted events all take place on one day or over several, a confusion not mitigated by an overall blandness in tone and palette.

Leave this daddy book on the shelf. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-60537-523-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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

WITH ALL MY HEART

Sweet.

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. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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