Rich with organic material, this choice is as warm and patient as the ground that nurtures the seeds to new life.

READ REVIEW

WHAT WILL GROW?

Pine cones. Acorns. Dandelion fuzz. Sunflower seeds. Children are delighted by these natural treasures. But what will become of these little nuggets of life?

Ward and Ghahremani follow up their book What Will Hatch? (2013) with this second rhyming and riddling book on seeds. Hand-lettered descriptions provide bare clues: “Shiny, brown. Bumpy crown. / What will grow?” Gouache-on-wood illustrations in an earthy palette on double-page spreads provide visual hints. In the case of the preceding clue, squirrels hold large, brown acorns underneath the riddle on the verso. The answer page on the recto shows more squirrels skittering around a labeled oak tree with its distinctive leaves. Some of the riddles are intentionally vague, demanding that readers examine the pictures. Four of the answer pages are pull-out gatefolds that provide extra surprises. The page with the tall sunflowers opens up, while the page with the orange carrots growing below ground opens down. (Due to this unpredictable opening scheme, adult assistance may be required to reduce damage to the pages.) Yet beyond the riddles, there is a consistency in the content, the muted colors, even the satisfyingly thick recycled paper on which it is printed that reinforces the philosophy of this nature book. Endnotes provide details on the 13 seeds and their sowing times as well as the life cycle from seed to plant.

Rich with organic material, this choice is as warm and patient as the ground that nurtures the seeds to new life. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-030-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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