Readers in this living situation (both adult and child) will find comfort in the reminder that two is enough for support and...

TWO IS ENOUGH

Two is all you need for a family.

Be it a mother and child, a father and child, or a grandparent and grandchild, two is plenty when you are surrounded by love. Modern families come in all shapes and combinations, and here Matthies happily celebrates the two-person family. Bouncing rhymes, always starting with the gentle platitude “two is enough,” follow various ethnically diverse familial pairs as the seasons change. In winter, after a snowball fight and creating a snowman family (of two, naturally), “Two is enough for a warm-you-up hug, / For toasting hot chocolate, mug against mug.” In spring, after a rainy-day bike ride, “Two is enough for scattering seeds, / For giving bouquets and a necklace of weeds.” Some instances falter a bit (how many children refer to cleaning as “refreshing the nest?”), but most are honest and true. Mourning’s wispy figures playfully cavort through the four seasons, with large smiles, high-fives, and hugs. There is no shortage of encouragement and love. In a bit of a design flaw, to some readers, the pairs on individual pages may automatically combine when looking at a full double-page spread to form one family, since the background landscapes are often shared.

Readers in this living situation (both adult and child) will find comfort in the reminder that two is enough for support and love. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7624-5561-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 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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