A visionary alphabet book that seeks to introduce not only letters, but nuanced narratives to eager, unfettered young minds.

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DAYTIME VISIONS

AN ALPHABET

Forget A is for Apple. Here letters appear alongside delightfully ambiguous artwork and phrasing, offering up multitudes of interpretations and variations of story.

Readers know right away this isn’t a traditional ABC book. “THAT’S NOT AN ANSWER” appears on the letter A’s page, with a fierce cat hissing at a bird in flight. Cubist, mildly abstract artwork employs blocks of color, assured linework, and expressive brush strokes to deliver succinct, complex images with astonishing force and embedded meanings. Square pages and lavishly thick paper contribute to this immensely pleasing reading experience as well, nudging readers to run fingers across the beguiling matte illustrations as they revel in deciphering them. Phrases, fragments, exclamations, declarations, and angling adjectives accompany each picture, providing context and catalyzing imaginative analysis. N’s “A NIGHTMARE,” with a lurking animal, partially obscured behind trees, and a worried walker, dressed in red but with a hood looking much like an animal mask, provides ample fodder for decoding—and perhaps for nighttime visions too! Sometimes funny, occasionally eerie, often bizarre, such fantastic images keep readers alert, expectant, and excited.

A visionary alphabet book that seeks to introduce not only letters, but nuanced narratives to eager, unfettered young minds. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59270-195-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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