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For kids and parents who run, in strollers or otherwise, this hits the right notes.

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The sounds of a mother running lull a toddler to sleep in this rhyming picture book.

Baby Henry’s mother loves to run. She straps Henry into his stroller and off they go, through the neighborhood, downtown, and to a park. Henry eventually dozes off; when he wakes, they’re almost home. Now, Henry’s mom feels like she needs a nap, but he is ready to be off and running. With the exception of the first page, the verse scans beautifully, always rhyming with the same “pitterpat, pitterpat” sound of the mother’s running feet, encouraging lap readers to chime in on the refrain. The sights and sounds of this stroller run are described in a lovingly familiar way that suburban readers will immediately recognize. Mack’s watercolor illustrations add details unmentioned in the text—over the course of the run, Henry loses both his hat and a sock—that are sure to entertain children and resonate with parents. Mack ably captures both Henry’s energy and his sleepy demeanor. Although the cast is predominantly light-skinned, the people along Henry’s run come in different sizes, shapes, and ages, all friendly to a tyke in a moving stroller. Psychologist Lonczak offers no heavy-handed message in this celebration of togetherness: Henry loves being with his mom and seeing the world from his stroller, where he feels comfortable and safe enough to snooze.

For kids and parents who run, in strollers or otherwise, this hits the right notes.

Pub Date: June 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9786093-2-0

Page Count: 28

Publisher: IngramSpark

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2020

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A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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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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