NINJA BUNNY

SISTER VS. BROTHER

From the Ninja Bunny series

You never know when an extra ninja will come in handy.

Having completed some serious (but hilarious) ninja training and defeated a large bear (Ninja Bunny, 2015), the lightning-fast Ninja Bunny is back. He’s a child-shaped rabbit in a blue suit and mask; his pals are pale beige like him, though they don’t wear suits. But there’s somebody new here: a smaller, red-ninja–suited figure also claiming the title—and the skills—of Ninja Bunny. Blue ninja, exasperated, hollers, “MOMMMMM!!!!” and from offpage, in a speech bubble, comes a decidedly non-ninjalike instruction: “Play with your sister, dear.” He claims that “she’s too little to jump high,” but vignettes, panels, and full spreads show her jumping and kicking with enthusiasm and prowess. She needs to run to keep up, but she can balance upside-down on her frustrated brother’s head with one hand: she’s plenty stretchy and strong. Olson’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations zip and zoom with mobile postures, leaps, and expressive eyebrows. Defying gravity, bunnies even kick and flip while aloft and moving uphill. When the ninja mission calls for stealing the Golden Carrot of Awesomeness (grown by Farmer McGregor, in a wink to Beatrix Potter), which is protected by seemingly impenetrable vines, only the smallest ninja can solve the quandary and execute the task—earning delighted respect from her big brother.

Funny and full of motion. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55074-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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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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