Grandma’s lucky to have all these family members, and young readers are even luckier to be invited to this wonderful family...

GRANDMA'S TINY HOUSE

A fantastic feast unfolds as Grandma’s family gathers at her very small home.

There are “TWO turkeys send[ing] scrumptious smells through the air,” “FOUR pots of hot greens and ham hocks galore.” And that’s just to start. Beyond the food, there are the bearers of all these treats. “SEVEN cool uncles stroll up in a line, / with EIGHT jugs of lemonade, ice-cold and fine.” This rhyming counting book features a large family with brown skin, mostly of the same shade with some slight variations in skin tone but lots of different hairstyles, body types, and looks. The party doesn’t seem to be celebrating any particular holiday, just an excuse for family, neighbors, and friends (there are a few white faces among the friends) to come together and enjoy a multigenerational summer day. But there is a problem accommodating everyone, and one of the “FIFTEEN hungry grandchildren,” a logical little girl with a yellow headband holding back her Afro, has the solution. She suggests using the backyard, and the party moves outside without skipping a beat. There is a great sense of movement and bustle, and Grandma’s cat and dog can be spotted in each double-page spread.

Grandma’s lucky to have all these family members, and young readers are even luckier to be invited to this wonderful family gathering. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-712-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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