A playful visual twist sets this apart from other car vocabulary books.

OUR CAR

A child describes the family vehicle in this simple, colorful introduction to cars imported from Poland.

On the front cover, a small figure in a lime-green shirt leans over the back of a convertible, holding a string that extends over the book’s spine to the back cover, where it’s tied to a lime-green balloon bearing the words “What is your car like?” The young balloon-holder sets out to model an answer to that very question, the art using bold colors and simple, evocative shapes (in what appear to be chalk or oil pastel) to share basic car-related concepts, including maintenance and driving protocol. Each spread puts one vocabulary word (rendered in exaggeratedly large, black letters in the hand-lettered text) in context: “Sometimes, the engine screeches like a wild animal. / Then the mechanic has to take a look….” The illustrations whimsically support this, as the hood morphs subtly to resemble the open, toothed jaws of a ferocious beast. Carefully considered formatting and design also support the narrative: The landscape format echoes the car’s shape, and the illustrations at times wink at their own construction—a smear of pigment represents the car moving through wind, and white lines resembling eraser marks appear on the car when the family washes it. All human figures throughout the book are the same shade of hot pink and wear fairly gender-ambiguous clothing; the child’s father is the only person explicitly referred to by gendered pronouns in the text.

A playful visual twist sets this apart from other car vocabulary books. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-246-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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