Sure to enjoy commercial success thanks to the marquee talent, this effort will result in more disappointment than enjoyment.

MIGHTY DADS

Big-daddy and little-kid trucks of all kinds are busy at work on a construction site.

Holub uses rhyme—which is often forced—and repetition to create what is most likely intended to be an over-the-top interactive reading-aloud success. Some phrasing really works: “Excavator Big / helps little Vator dig. / They go scoop, scoop, scoop.” Others are not as impressive: “Backhoe Steady / waits for Hoe-Hoe to get ready. / They go trench, trench, trench.” Along the way, cranes reach, boom trucks crash, mixers pour and steamrollers pave. Each spread features Dean’s (Pete the Cat series) brightly hued vehicles—one huge and one tiny. They are always calmly working together. Each wears the exact same heavy-lidded expression, except when the day is done and it looks as though all the trucks are sleeping. Clearly a Dean trademark, this nevertheless comes across as a missed opportunity to visually engage readers and add some energy. Shouldn’t these dad-and-child pairs look like they’re having a good time together?

Sure to enjoy commercial success thanks to the marquee talent, this effort will result in more disappointment than enjoyment. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-60968-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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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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