A good but not great good-night picture book.

READ REVIEW

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

A nighttime thunderstorm results in a crowded bed when a little boy welcomes his pets to snuggle up with him and his teddy bear in this cumulative, rhyming story that is reminiscent of The Napping House but falters a bit in its pacing.

As the storm begins, the boy is reading his book when his dog jumps into bed for some comfort as the thunder booms outside. Then a kitten, a guinea pig, a frog, a parrot and even a snake cram themselves into the boy’s tiny bed. There’s clearly no room when the boy’s sister demands to clamber in as well, and despite her brother’s protestations, she “jump[s] in with elbows flying,” and the bed breaks. In a rather abrupt ending, the other characters all disperse without notice, and the boy snuggles into his broken bed with only his teddy bear and book as the moon and stars shine in a clear night’s sky outside of the window. The quickness of the page turn from the bed breaking to this resolution throws off the pacing of the story, and the curious absence of any parents or other adult caregivers in the story may give some children who are familiar with fears about thunderstorms pause, despite the sweet softness and gentle palette of the illustrations.

A good but not great good-night picture book. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-30868-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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