For the baby showers of expectant web developers only—all others should close the browser on this one.

ABCS OF THE WEB

An alphabet primer that introduces little ones to HTML, the internet, JavaScript, and more.

Each page presents one letter and a brief definition of a concept from web design and coding. “O is for Open source. / Use an O. / Work with O. / What begins with O?” This is followed by an explanation: “Open source is sharing code and adding what you know.” The terms are accompanied by cartoon babies, with paper-white, orangey-brown, and burnt-orange skin tones, demonstrating the meanings of these web concepts in everyday situations. To demonstrate “open source,” pajama-clad tots happily share a hard-candy choke hazard. To illustrate “elements,” a baby builds with oversize Lego-like bricks, and the “tags” page shows clothing on hangers with large store tags dangling. Many of these concepts are quite sophisticated, and the one-sentence definitions will just leave little ones and many of their grown-ups with more queries. Also, it is hard to know who the book’s audience is. Will board-book–reading, literal-minded toddlers and preschoolers be able to understand that the “cookies” in their computer aren’t real cookies at all? Most children will not begin to understand the concepts in this book until they are 8 or 9 at least, but they will likely not want to have these ideas explained by cartoon babies wearing onesies.

For the baby showers of expectant web developers only—all others should close the browser on this one. (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0312-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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