Kids will be a step ahead of Piggy in solving the problem of reaching Giraffe to bestow a kiss, but that’s not enough to...

A KISS FOR GIRAFFE

Piggy wants to give his best friend a kiss, but how will he reach Giraffe’s face?

Koppens’ simple language sets up the problem on the first spread: “Giraffe and Piggy are best friends. Piggy wants to give Giraffe a kiss, but Giraffe is too tall. ‘How can I reach you?’ Piggy asks.” Succeeding spreads show Piggy’s creative, Rube Goldberg–esque solutions, ones that children might think up on their own: dig a hole for Giraffe to sit in, swing as high as he can on a rope, take a running jump, and climb a ladder. Each fails, the last rather spectacularly, and as Giraffe bends down to make sure Piggy is OK and give him a kiss, Piggy realizes the obvious solution and takes the opportunity to kiss Giraffe in return: “Now, why didn’t I think of that?” This is solely a problem-solution story rather a friendship tale with depth, which might have made this book stand out. Savanna backgrounds are simple, keeping the focus on the characters, which is a bit problematic: Giraffe has no personality whatsoever, and their facial expression barely changes at all, remaining largely static with vacant eyes. Piggy has a little more spark.

Kids will be a step ahead of Piggy in solving the problem of reaching Giraffe to bestow a kiss, but that’s not enough to make it a good book. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60537-407-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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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An adventurous treat of a bedtime story.

BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES

A patient mother with a healthy sense of whimsy helps prepare her headstrong toddler for bed.

The story opens with a toddler, fists raised into the air, proclaiming, “No! No! No!” Thank goodness this not-at-the-moment-sweet creature’s mother is patient and creative as she corrals her child into a bedtime routine that may feel familiar to many readers. The words and behaviors of the child evading bed are translated into animal sounds and behaviors: wide-eyed and asking “Who? Who?” like an owl; shaking hair and roaring like a lion; hanging on for a hug like a koala. And, of course, the requisite leaving bed for a last trip to the bathroom and drink, like a human child. Zunon’s art takes this book to the next level: Her portrayals of the animals mentioned in the text are colorful and full of intriguing patterns and shapes. Additionally, the expressions on the faces of the mother, child, and animals speak volumes, portraying the emotions of each. Arguably, the sweetest part of the story comes at the end, when the child asks to sleep with Mommy and Dad. Though the mother sighs, the child climbs in, along with “owl, bear, snake, kitty, fawn, squirrel, koala, tiger, wolf.” (Readers attuned to details will notice the father’s look of delight at the parade of animals.) All characters are Black.

An adventurous treat of a bedtime story. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3832-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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