Superbly splashy, immersive, and effervescent.

BUBBLES…UP!

A swimming pool and a young swimmer create watery magic together.

Davies’ lighthearted, lively bit of poetry describes the singular joy of an afternoon at the neighborhood pool in this celebration of underwater swimming and splashing. “PLUNGE! / under / under / under,” reads the text as a child with black hair and light brown skin and a colorfully striped one-piece bathing suit dives and floats and soars underwater. “Bubbles…UP!” A younger, lighter-skinned little person wearing floaties and orange swim trunks stays by the poolside with an adult while a crowd of children with many different hair types and colors of skin splashes and shouts in the pool. Sánchez’s illustrations capture the way sunlight ripples through water over blue-patterned tiles and convey the blissful freedom of weightlessness, diving to the bottom of an imaginary ocean world and rocketing to the top amid bubbles. A brief thundershower clears the pool, and everyone huddles near the snack bar—but when the all-clear sounds, it’s back to the water. There’s a dramatic rescue of a rubber duck: “You are fast…/ —aqueous— / A watery dolphin, all flash and fin.” There’s cuddling—for a moment—in a towel after, and then back to the water, where the smaller child joins in the fun at last. The exuberant sense of being purely in the moment is delightful. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 19% of actual size.)

Superbly splashy, immersive, and effervescent. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-283661-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Gorgeous, shimmering, heartfelt.

I SANG YOU DOWN FROM THE STARS

Anticipation, pregnancy, and the birth of a baby are celebrated in this story from Spillett-Sumner (Inniniwak) and Caldecott medalist Goade (Tlingit).

When a baby chooses its mother, special gatherings of family and community are held to prepare for the child’s arrival. Sacred items are collected and placed in a medicine bundle to be given to the baby at birth. These items will keep the growing child’s connection to their identity strong. Spillett-Sumner’s lyrical text begins as an Indigenous mother plans the journey with her unborn child. “Before I held you in my arms, I sang you down from the stars.” When she finds a white eagle plume, it becomes “the first gift in a bundle that will be yours.” The young mother finds more items for her child’s bundle: cedar, sage, a “star blanket,” and a special river stone “so that you always remember that you belong to this place.” The baby arrives in the spring, “with the waters that come when the ice breaks and the rivers flow again.” Goade uses a white “swoosh” of stars throughout the illustrations to intertwine traditional origin stories with a family’s experience of “love and joy” upon the arrival of the new baby, in scenes that pulse with both emotions. Author and illustrator each contribute a note describing how they drew upon their respective cultural traditions to inform their work, which will open the book up to a wide range of readers.

Gorgeous, shimmering, heartfelt. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49316-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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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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