A winning choice for reading aloud in storytimes and a fine gift for a family with a new baby, with or without a dog.

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CRYBABY

A black Labrador retriever is the only family member who can soothe a crying baby in this humorous, cumulative story that cries out to be read aloud with plenty of sound effects.

The story begins “in a quiet house on a quiet street,” but the stillness of the night is broken by a resounding “W-A-A-A-A!” set in large, red display type. The titular “crybaby” is clearly distressed and wailing loudly in her crib. The old family dog, Roy, comes a-running with the baby’s favorite stuffed toy, but his help is repeatedly rejected. Each family member tries a different tactic to help quiet the baby, from rocking to a bottle feeding to changing the baby’s diaper. Every action is given a sound-effect description, usually two words, with the rhyming phrases adding up in a funny reverse list that children will enjoy repeating or acting out: “P-e-e-u-u-w-w! / Peek-a-boo! / Hush, hush! / Rush, rush!” Faithful Roy the retriever keeps offering the baby’s stuffed lamb, and eventually the baby reaches down for her toy, solving her crying spell and allowing everyone to get to sleep just as the sun is rising. Loose watercolor illustrations with the look of collage effectively incorporate the sound-effect words within the page designs. Roy is portrayed as a gentle giant carrying the toy lamb in his mouth, and the depictions of family and neighbors add humor to the parade of potential helpers.

A winning choice for reading aloud in storytimes and a fine gift for a family with a new baby, with or without a dog. (Picture book. 3-8) 

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8974-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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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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