It is poetry set to the life cycle of nature—through the words of children.

READ REVIEW

FOREST, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE?

Performer and poet O'Garden's jubilant dialogue between sweet-natured children and a personified forest offers an apt blend of lush imagery and bare-bones kid-ness, set to a read-aloud rhythm.

On the book's final page, O'Garden's author's note explains how the idea for the book blossomed in Garrison, N.Y. "Gowned as Mother Nature, I asked each child to tell me how the forest might answer the question: Forest, what would you like? From their four hundred responses, to which I added answers of my own, I distilled a ten-page poem," melding the voices of the children with her own. The effect is a seamless grassy green ribbon of fun with flora and fauna. "Forest, what would you like? / I would like friendship, fruit, song, / and all the spicy smells of Fall: / acorns, seeds, and crispy needles. / I would like my leaves to turn different colors / and a whole bunch of birds to fly through me." Schories expertly captures the conversation between children and nature. She sets the forest scenes in large, full-bleed panels that occupy whole pages or most of a spread, representing the children’s voices with a multiethnic group of tots who populate the white space. A green-clad, elfin child personifies the forest, romping in the trees or sitting contemplatively by a wintry river.

It is poetry set to the life cycle of nature—through the words of children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2322-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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