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HOME IS...

A subtle, varied, lyrically told exploration of the concept.

In this gentle, expository piece, a rhyming text merges with vibrant illustrations to explore multiple interpretations of the meaning of home.

Home is particular for both humans and creatures of the natural world. Alternating and opposing views prove the point. “Home is land, home is sky. / Home is wet, home is dry.” A rural river scene reveals a bear emerging from its den to find breakfast in the fish-filled river, birds flying above through a clear, sunny sky, a beaver observing from its dam, and a small cottage sitting on the far bank. The contrasting views continue: “Home is dark, home is bright. / Home is day, home is night.” The dark undersea world is shown opposite a bright tropical reef to illustrate the first half of the couplet; a rooster below a beaming sun parallels the night flight of an owl through a city’s star-filled, moonlit sky for the second. The simplicity of the text is significantly enhanced by the soft-toned, complex, and engaging paintings that offer differentiating vistas as the concept of home encompasses the enumerated examples. Some will be obvious in their meaning—“roomy”/“snug,” “floating”/“still,” “far”/“near”—while others will be a bit obscure. All will encourage discussion and analysis. “Forever” versus “on loan” is limned with a turtle opposite a hermit crab. Finally, “Home is anywhere you love” returns to the river scene at night with a depiction of comfort, warmth, and peace as the animals sleep and a window-lit cottage twinkles in the distance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A subtle, varied, lyrically told exploration of the concept. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2176-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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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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THE CRAYONS LOVE OUR PLANET

A droll exploration of color and nature—and a welcome reminder to safeguard our planet.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wildly popular Crayons have an important ecological message.

Though climate change is never mentioned, the book nevertheless gently introduces responsibility for Planet Earth. As in previous titles, the main text is in a large black font, while the Crayons’ dialogue is presented in a smaller, gray font. Blue begins by showing off a blue-tinged image of the globe (land masses are depicted in a darker hue). Green takes over: “Yay, Trees! I did those!” Beige breaks in, pointing to a tiny wheat plant next to two large trees: “And wheat! I did the WHEAT!” Beige puts wheat front and center throughout—even on White’s drawing of mountaintop ice caps. When Red, Yellow, and Orange display drawings of various fruits, Beige interjects, “And WHEAT. Wheat is totally fruit.” Diplomatic Purple politely responds, “Um. NO. It is not.” Purple attempts to dissuade self-important Beige, but it all ends happily as the Crayons join hands and proclaim: “Our planet has all of us too, in many shapes, colors, and sizes.” Beige and Purple reconcile, with Beige adding, “And it’s our job to keep the planet safe.” Young children will easily absorb this positive message. Although these characters have had many outings, their quiet humor still succeeds, and fans will definitely want this new entry.

A droll exploration of color and nature—and a welcome reminder to safeguard our planet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9780593621080

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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