A sadly missed opportunity to show kids the real nuts and bolts of construction.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A TOOLBOX?

TV designers and builders Carrino and Colaneri, aka “The Cousins,” teach a bunch of preschoolers how to use tools to build a playground.

The men introduce the children to safety precautions and emphasize the need for adult supervision. They show various tools in action—a wrench, bolts, a shovel, a screwdriver, a tape measure, a level, a hammer and nails, a saw, a drill, a ladder, and paintbrushes—and the kids watch raptly and run around. The pencil-and-watercolor vignettes are attractively busy and convey the excitement of the project, but too many details are missing or inaccurate to adequately explain the building process. The text states “We use a wrench and bolts to assemble the swing set,” but the swing set looks finished (there is a kid on a swing), and there is no visible explanation of the mechanics of this operation. Readers learn that “a screwdriver turns a screw to fasten the cargo net,” but there is no demonstration of how the screwdriver (held by a squirrel) is intended to be used or what a screw is. Descriptions are inaccurate: A tape measure is used “to measure how tall to make the slide”—but in fact it is to calculate where the slide needs to be attached. A level is used to “make sure the monkey bars are straight,” but “straight” does not sufficiently convey the concept of “level.”

A sadly missed opportunity to show kids the real nuts and bolts of construction. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0296-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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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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Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby.

BABY GOES TO MARKET

Baby is so charming that various vendors in this West African market gift him all sorts of yummies.

Baby rides on Mama’s back, held snug by a bright cloth wrap. Mama navigates the busy, colorful outdoor market, her woven basket balanced on her head. The text unrolls rhythmically in Atinuke’s storyteller’s voice: “Market is very crowded. Baby is very curious. Baby is so curious that Mrs. Ade, the banana seller, gives Baby six bananas.” Baby eats one and puts the remaining bananas in Mama’s basket. All the while Mama shops, unbeknownst to her, vendors continue to respond to Baby’s transparent delight with five oranges, four “sugary chin-chin biscuits,” three “roasted sweet corn,” and two pieces of coconut. With each delicacy given, Baby eats one and puts the rest in the basket. When Mama sees all the extra foodstuffs she didn’t buy, she’s concerned, until the vendors reassure her: “We gave those things to Baby!” In her debut picture book, Brooksbank offers bright, bustling tableaux of shoppers, vendors, and goods. The smiling, all-black cast sort through myriad wares, while the text keeps up its rhythm, introducing both typical items bought in a West African market and a gentle lesson in arithmetic as Baby alternately snacks on and stashes his gifts.

Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9570-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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