Winter captures in two dimensions a great deal of the evocative nature of Cornell’s three-dimensional work in a way that...

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MR. CORNELL'S DREAM BOXES

A gentle homage to artist Joseph Cornell explores artistic inspiration for very young readers and listeners.

Winter presents Cornell in the context of home on Utopia Parkway: caring for his brother upstairs, dreaming in his backyard, assembling his unique shadow boxes in the cellar of the house in Queens, New York, where artists and collectors eventually come to visit, as the author’s note reveals. Winter offers a look at a form of artistic expression within reach of her audience, explaining that Cornell was neither painter nor sculptor, yet he created “WONDERLANDS covered in glass.” She charmingly discloses that Cornell loved sweets and imagines child readers or listeners as one of the neighbors Cornell might have invited to a special exhibit of his boxes. Winter’s digitally rendered art is delicate and inviting. Images repeat and transform from imagined glimpses through the windows of Cornell’s house to a view into the artist’s dreams and memories. The plain outlines of his house are overlaid with images of a swan and a moon in one illustration, bright birds in another. She conveys the dreamlike quality of his work, even when strange or disquieting: “He remembered learning about stars, / and how the endless sky scared him.”

Winter captures in two dimensions a great deal of the evocative nature of Cornell’s three-dimensional work in a way that will be intriguing for the very young. (Picture book/biography. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9900-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 10, 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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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