Next book

DAYTIME VISIONS

AN ALPHABET

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

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 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

Next book

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

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

Next book

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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

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 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Close Quickview