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

MOOSHKA, A QUILT STORY

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. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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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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