A pleasant-enough diversion, but the game without the book has more staying power.

WHO SAYS PEEKABOO?

From the Baby Mirror Board Books series

Three babies play peekaboo with animal friends in this simple question-and-answer board book.

The simple and repetitive format of this board book gives it high appeal for very young readers, who also get to play along. The question “What game does baby want to play?” and its answer, “Baby says, PEEKABOO!” are repeated with three different baby-and-animal pairs. The final page features a mirror with an invitation for readers to say “PEEKABOO” too. The illustrations feature photographs of babies (none with dark skin) and animals against an all-white background with clip-art–style props such as a box and a beach bucket digitally collaged in. Thankfully, the babies and animals are adorable, because these embellishments are decidedly lackluster. The repetition of the text and the familiarity of the peekaboo game make it an appropriate read for infants and young toddlers, who will also enjoy gazing at themselves and their caregivers in the mirror at the book’s end. A companion title, Who Says Hippity Hop?, asks readers which animal says the titular phrase, passing up various farm animals until readers land on the correct hopping creature. Easter baskets and eggs accompany the photographs in this one, which also includes a mirror at the end. It is both nonsensical in its premise and less engaging for infants and toddlers than the more versatile Peekaboo.

A pleasant-enough diversion, but the game without the book has more staying power. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-913-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Highlights Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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