It's a perfect ending to a perfect book.

MR. FRANK

Outstanding mixed-media collages and a thoughtful text create a distinctive book that rises far above most tributes to grandparental love.

“Mr. Frank was a tailor,” proclaims the first page, in bold, unambiguous lettering. The image is of an older man, humbly clothed in a baseball cap and a fuzzy sweater with elbow patches. He smiles slightly as he prepares to unlock his workshop door. In the next pages, readers learn that today, “Mr. Frank received an order for an outfit that made all the others seem rather dull.” The double-page spreads that follow are perfect examples of artwork extending text, as each decade of Mr. Frank’s long career reveals the fashions he helped to create and promulgate—always in the context of how much more wonderful Mr. Frank’s newest creation must be. From army uniforms to miniskirts to tutus, readers get a taste of past fashions, as this outfit must be “more stylish than the suits he made over fifty years ago” and “more playful than the dresses and skirts he hemmed forty-some-odd years ago.” In fact, the project Mr. Frank works on so lovingly today is “perfect…there was nothing else he wanted to do.” The entirely wordless climax hints that the book may be turning maudlin, until the turn of the page reveals a humorous and heartwarming denouement.

It's a perfect ending to a perfect book. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55498-435-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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 will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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