Lacking rhymes, lowercase letters, and a story, this is middling ABC fare.

ABCS AT THE HAUNTED HOUSE

From the ABC Adventures series

Join in on this alphabetical haunted house tour.

The text’s formatting teases that it will be rhyming verse; sadly, it’s not: “Let’s go for apples! / BOO—it’s a bat! How about that! / Candy corn—yum!” The spreads feature text on the verso and the letters presented on that spread capitalized in a small callout on the top right of the recto. Vibrant, seemingly digital illustrations highlighted with Halloween colors fill in the space between and give readers opportunities to find those items listed in the text. Q and X are represented by “quivering bones” and “X-ray,” and the typical Halloween cast is accounted for: ghost, mummy, vampire, witch, zombie. Even though the called-out letters appear only as capitals, many of the representative words start with lowercase letters. And while some of the sentences include stretch vocabulary and great alliteration (“Freaky fangs all around”), many are like the spelling homework schoolchildren might turn in: “Pumpkins come in all sizes”; “What’s under the stairs?” A final spread includes a tiny thumbnail of each item from the text and the letter it begins with. There is no throughline, and readers may startle to find the kids, one pale and one with beige skin, with their invitation on the “HI” spread when they’ve already been inside the house.

Lacking rhymes, lowercase letters, and a story, this is middling ABC fare. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63440-876-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Red Chair Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby.

BABY GOES TO MARKET

Baby is so charming that various vendors in this West African market gift him all sorts of yummies.

Baby rides on Mama’s back, held snug by a bright cloth wrap. Mama navigates the busy, colorful outdoor market, her woven basket balanced on her head. The text unrolls rhythmically in Atinuke’s storyteller’s voice: “Market is very crowded. Baby is very curious. Baby is so curious that Mrs. Ade, the banana seller, gives Baby six bananas.” Baby eats one and puts the remaining bananas in Mama’s basket. All the while Mama shops, unbeknownst to her, vendors continue to respond to Baby’s transparent delight with five oranges, four “sugary chin-chin biscuits,” three “roasted sweet corn,” and two pieces of coconut. With each delicacy given, Baby eats one and puts the rest in the basket. When Mama sees all the extra foodstuffs she didn’t buy, she’s concerned, until the vendors reassure her: “We gave those things to Baby!” In her debut picture book, Brooksbank offers bright, bustling tableaux of shoppers, vendors, and goods. The smiling, all-black cast sort through myriad wares, while the text keeps up its rhythm, introducing both typical items bought in a West African market and a gentle lesson in arithmetic as Baby alternately snacks on and stashes his gifts.

Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9570-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more