Leave this daddy book on the shelf.

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SOMETIMES DADDIES ARE...

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 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents.

TO THE MOON AND BACK FOR YOU

A poetic ode to women who became mothers despite the challenges they faced.

Whether navigating the roughest seas, crossing the hottest deserts, or pushing through painful brambles, the mothers in this book know their long, hard journeys were worth the effort. There might have been failure and doubt, but now that it’s all over, they know they’d “do it all over again. For you.” First-person narration expresses in metaphor the extraordinary lengths some mothers will go to achieve their dream of holding a child in their arms. Sentimental and flowery, the text is broad enough to apply to the journeys of many mothers—even though the text is gender neutral, the illustrations clearly center the mother’s experience. At times another figure, often male-presenting, is shown alongside a mother. Soft, jewel-toned illustrations peppered with textures depict families with a variety of skin tones and hair colors/textures. The assortment of mothers shown demonstrates the universality of the message, but it also contributes to the absence of a strong visual throughline. In the concluding author’s note, Serhant shares her personal struggle to conceive her child, which included fertility treatments and IVF. Ultimately, although the sentiment is lovely, the message is too abstract to be understood by children and will be better received and appreciated by parents.

Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-17388-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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