Simply lovely.

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LITTLE HOME BIRD

Little Bird loves his cozy nest so much that, as winter approaches, he can’t bear to leave it.

Every day, Little Bird sits on his favorite branch, eats his favorite food (juicy red berries), and listens to his favorite music, provided by wind chimes tied to another, nearby branch. So, when the wind starts to blow and his big brother tells him it’s time to head south to the family’s winter home, Little Bird decides to take all his favorite things, including his nest, with him. As the flock flies higher and higher, Little Bird tries to keep up, but it’s hopeless. His favorite branch falls into the mouth of a grateful dog, the wind chimes land near a shepherd atop a snowy mountain, and a clap of thunder sends Little Bird’s gathered berries onto the quills of a porcupine. When Little Bird finally reaches his new home, he doesn’t have his favorite things. In a short time, though, he discovers lots of new favorite things. And soon it feels like home. Empson’s dreamy illustrations capture the beauty and majesty of nature with warmth and elegance; wide-eyed Little Bird is a green-and-yellow puffball. Children will readily identify with both his juvenile appearance and his desire to cling to the familiar. The text is properly simple and direct and is closed with a short postscript on the adventure of migration.

Simply lovely. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84643-889-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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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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