WAITING OUT THE STORM

A poetic portrait of a young girl and her mother coming in from the rain. While the mother collects daffodils and her daughter watches, the storm announces itself by way of wind blowing through the trees. As the first drops fall, the girl starts to ask anxious questions about the sounds she hears coming from the sky and the animals she sees running for cover. The mother patiently offers her gentle rhyming answers. Readers learn where squirrels, birds, turtles and ducks go during the storm as they follow the mother-daughter pair inside. Gaber’s soft watercolor, pencil and charcoal illustrations render the storm as a peaceful, natural event, doing a wonderful job of expressing the mother’s calm, protective nature to mitigate the actual drama of the storm. Dark clouds look like soft, dark pillows, gold strands of lightning glitter through the foggy mist and the painterly textures give a comforting depth to the surfaces. There is also a nice juxtaposition between the text and visuals as the characters move toward shelter. A soothing read for an angry storm. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3378-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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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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