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Imaginative new-sibling fun.

Jimmy becomes a superhero and conquers his archnemesis.

Upon hearing a loud, terrible howling, Jimmy rushes through a secret door into a secret elevator and down to the lowest level of his home, where he transforms himself into the formidable Kid Amazing. He arms himself with an array of gadgets and heads toward danger. Encountering a terrible odor in the Blob’s lair, he quickly uses his trusty “de-stinking spray” and nullifies that problem. When he reaches the dreaded villain, he finds the hidden “howl neutralizer,” and magically all is calm. He applies to the Commissioner for approval and a cookie, making an (unrealistically) optimistic prediction that there will be no more trouble from the Blob. Of course readers will quickly suss out that Kid Amazing’s adventures involve an annoying baby sibling and a very patient mom. (All are white.) Schneider’s take on the new-baby syndrome is fun and inventive. Kid is admirably willing to help his mom with this blobby creature and applies great care and cunning in his machinations, all cleverly depicted in lively pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations. However, Kid’s costume elements and accouterments are explained in small blue and white insets, interrupting the flow of the tale and employing syntax that is at a more sophisticated level than the main text; while adults reading with children will get a chuckle, they may leave actual children behind.

Imaginative new-sibling fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-80125-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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