While fans of the earlier titles might enjoy every bite of this one, it doesn’t jell as well as its predecessors,...



Medina presents the third in a series (ABC Pasta and 1 Big Salad, both 2016) that brings together an early-learning concept, photographed food items, doodled black lines, and a unifying setting.

Here, 12 shapes—fruits, sweets, and baked goods sourced in Medina’s Washington, D.C., environs—are embodied as forest animals. Each shape is depicted and spelled out in all-caps at the top of a page. Thick black lines turn the bright pink circle of a macaron into an owl; oval jelly beans become the bodies of butterflies. Most of the sweets’ shapes derive from the way they’re cut: there’s a square “Carmelita Deer” and a rectangular “Brownie Bear.” This conceit stretches to include a cross, cut from a Rice Krispies square, for a wolf’s face and arrows cut from pecan-pie slices standing in as chipmunks. Thick line drawings lend a coloring-book feel to the compositions, since many animals appear against white space. Typefaces selected for display and text type (Burbank big wide and Bodoni Six) compete with rather than complement each other, and digitally stylized branches, grass, and other bits add to the visual disjointedness. A recipe for chocolate-covered strawberries, requiring a double boiler, a pound of bittersweet chocolate, and an unspecified quantity of strawberries, is appended.

While fans of the earlier titles might enjoy every bite of this one, it doesn’t jell as well as its predecessors, conceptually or visually. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-99982-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.


Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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