Though the story is new, the moral and tone, accompanied by artful illustrations, make it feel like a classic.

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THE KING'S DRAPES

In this debut original fairy tale, a clever girl teaches the king to look beyond his own avarice.

Every day, an unhappy king orders new drapes, uttering the repeated phrase: “Here ye! Here ye! These drapes will not do! / Change them! Change them! I must have brand new!” The court scrambles to use all the fanciest fabrics to create the perfect drapes, and the people of the kingdom are reduced to wearing rags. When the tailors run out of cloth, all fear what will happen next until one brave girl convinces the king to leave the windows bare. The king sees the suffering of his people, and he orders the old drapes to be refitted as clothing, even helping to hand-stitch the new clothing himself. Reminiscent of other greedy rulers, like the emperor of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” or the wicked queen in “Snow White,” the king in this story is both foolish and demanding. His change of heart is quick but in keeping with the fairy-tale tone. Tambascio’s rhyming stanzas scan beautifully, and the repeated phrases make this a fun read-aloud. Born’s brightly painted, geometric illustrations feature bird characters in all the roles, and the added elements belonging to the clever girl—her cardboard-box rocket ship, a book of great ideas, and a “dream big” poster on the wall—offer even deeper insight into her character.

Though the story is new, the moral and tone, accompanied by artful illustrations, make it feel like a classic.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64921-882-7

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 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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