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Witty, smart, and funny—kids will love it! (Board book. 3-5)

Cartoon faces with a variety of expressions invite readers to guess what might be causing “the face.”

One on each recto, nine different faces (with different hairdos and colors and different skin tones ranging from light brown to dark brown) sport distinctive and very quirky looks. Each face is accompanied by the recurring page-filling, boldfaced question “WHY THE FACE? on the opposite page. The answer to each can be found by unfolding the gatefold pages beneath the faces in this sturdily constructed board book. The gift here is the fold-out page, as it allows children time to use their imaginations and encourages conversations between children and adult readers before unfolding the page and revealing the answer. The answers are as distinctive and quirky as the faces. The answer to a scrunched-up face is revealed to be a collection of smelly objects—from an elephant’s backside with a swarm of flies around it to a shoe—accompanied by “WHOA! THAT STINKS.” And the face with spirals for eyes? A collection of electronic screens along with a plea for “FIVE MORE MINUTES!” Allowing for differences in attitudes, two different faces—one happy, one disgusted—reveal the same answer: bugs. The accompanying text succinctly expresses the contradictory feelings: “OOH COOL! / EWW GROSS!” (In an extra-delightful touch, the feminine face is delighted by the bugs, while the masculine one is repelled by them.)

Witty, smart, and funny—kids will love it! (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7719-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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