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MOOSHKA, A QUILT STORY

Vivid artwork, a lively, endearing heroine and a warm, loving look at a pivotal experience give this one classic potential.

Like the beautiful quilt showcased on glowing endpapers and throughout this tale, a preschooler’s active imagination (probably) and an exciting (or not) addition are pieced together with family stories to create a new-baby/favorite-blanket story that’s likely to become an old favorite.

Karla loves her quilt, which she calls Mooshka. Mooshka comforts her on cold and scary nights and, at least according to Karla, can talk. Whether Mooshka is actually magical is left open to interpretation. It’s possible, after all, that the vignettes of earlier activities (mom’s jump from a cherry tree or an aunt’s turn as a fortune-teller) are actually memories based on conversations with Karla’s grandmother as she sewed the quilt and shared family history. And maybe Mooshka’s fondness for pancakes simply reflects Karla’s early-morning cravings. Bordered in rectangles and triangles of vibrant patterns in a kaleidoscope of colors, both text and illustrations carry Paschkis’ plot. Indeed, young listeners may be as disconcerted as Karla at the appearance of a baby sister, but careful examination of an earlier picture reveals a hint of things to come. After initial, if mild, hostility, Karla finds it in her heart to comfort little Hannah by sharing both Mooshka and the story of her own contribution.

Vivid artwork, a lively, endearing heroine and a warm, loving look at a pivotal experience give this one classic potential. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56145-620-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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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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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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