Another fine entry for a “sense of wonder” collection.

READ REVIEW

ON DUCK POND

From the On Bird Hill and Beyond series

The splash and chatter of a raft of ducks temporarily disrupts the peace of a wildlife-filled pond.

Smoothly crafted couplets and the occasional triplet describe a moment in the natural world when a “quack of ducks” descends on a pond. The unnamed narrator, who is walking with a leashed dog, is depicted as an adult with light-brown skin. She describes the sights and sounds of mallards landing, the other animals scattering, and the water rippling. “Every part of me was changed, / I looked like I’d been re-arranged.” Just as quickly the ducks move on, and peace returns. A prolific and skillful writer, Yolen chooses her words carefully and interestingly, putting them together in ways that read aloud gracefully. This companion volume to On Bird Hill (2016) again speaks to the joy of paying attention to one’s surroundings. The text describes some of the pond’s inhabitants: trout, turtles, tadpoles, a bullfrog, and a blue heron. The illustrations show many more. Fourteen are identified in a key in the backmatter, and there are a few fast facts. Young readers and listeners will be encouraged to discover them in their habitat on these pages. Marstall’s delicately colored paintings are less whimsical and more realistic than in the previous book. They show the pond from many angles, including close-up images of lily pads and broad vistas.

Another fine entry for a “sense of wonder” collection. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943645-22-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cornell Lab Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 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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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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