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THIS BOOK WILL GET YOU TO SLEEP!

A picture book that takes bedtime drama to a whole new level.

This is not your average bedtime story.

“ATTENTION, READER!!! / This book will get you to SLEEP./ It’s TRUE.” An excessively eager kangaroo, with a blue megaphone and snazzy blue boots, is up for the challenge of sending youngsters off to slumberland. Want to fall asleep? Pshaw, that’s easy. All you need are some monster trucks to roar by, “RUMBLING and BUMBLING and CRASHING.” Or maybe a menagerie of animals to lull you to sleep with screeching electric guitars: “RAOO RAOOO RAOOOOOOO!!! YOU ASLEEP YET?” Surely counting sheep will do the trick…except they’re running too fast for you to count them because they’re being chased by dragons! Tallec’s free-wheeling style shines as distraction upon distraction pile up on the book’s high-energy double-page spreads. John’s chatty narration and signature dry humor (“Hmm? / You’re wide-a—what? / You’re wide-AWAKE?”) propel the story with frenetic fun. Young audiences won’t hesitate to join in as the overzealous marsupial leads a stadium full of critters in a boisterous chant (“FALL ASLEEP! FALL ASLEEP! FALL ASLEEP!”), and the amusing sound effects are perfect for read-alouds. Alas, this book just may have the opposite effect of the titular vow; thankfully, a disclaimer is included on the cover. All characters are anthropomorphic animals. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A picture book that takes bedtime drama to a whole new level. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-374-31130-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

Awards & Accolades

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The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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