Pak’s heartening tale about intergenerational caring warms the soul.

MY GRANDPA'S CHAIR

A granddaughter wants to find the perfect chair to cheer her grandfather up but learns it’s the company you sit with that matters most.

Grandpa used to love sitting on the couch and reading, but not anymore. His granddaughter, a little brunette with pigtail poofs, assumes the couch itself is the cause for his discontent, so she takes him furniture shopping. Together they test and measure their options until Grandpa orders a custom-built chair—that’s too fancy to use. Hoping to lift his spirits, the peach-complexioned girl suggests the park, where, as they sit side by side on a stump and read, Grandpa finds his happy place. Playful end pages showcase the artist’s strength at creating attractive and unusual elements with simple colors and patterns. This naïve style is applied with skill; however, the artist’s use of digital tools to collage her elements yields work that lacks the spontaneity of analog. The girl’s ebullience and the sheer good-heartedness of the story help to compensate for this. Observant readers may find cause for Grandpa’s sadness, as framed pictures show Grandpa with a smiling, gray-haired woman who is absent from the story.

Pak’s heartening tale about intergenerational caring warms the soul. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-0075-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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