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ANIMAL ACTION ABC

The alphabet in this book functions more as a framework than it does a primer in letters. It pairs verbs—arch, balance, charge, drink—with an animal engaged in that activity and a poem describing it. Brightly clad children superimposed against a backdrop of wildlife photographs imitate the animal actions. The wildlife and child photography is visually stimulating in concert, but the (just barely) rhyming text rarely extends the images and more often lacks the alacrity needed for a harmonious collaboration. There's no ``L is for leopard'' here; the sleepy leopard may be found under N, for Nap. A short glossary of each animal's habitat and behavior may interest older readers who will not care about learning letters or simulating the actions. For a stronger illustration of the same concept, see Jean Marzollo and Jerry Pinkney's Pretend You're a Cat (1990), which stretches minds as well as bodies. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-525-45486-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996

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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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TEN LITTLE FISH

This charming, colorful counting tale of ten little fish runs full-circle. Although the light verse opens and closes with ten fish swimming in a line, page-by-page the line grows shorter as the number of fish diminishes one-by-one. One fish dives down, one gets lost, one hides, and another takes a nap until a single fish remains. Then along comes another fish to form a couple and suddenly a new family of little fish emerges to begin all over. Slick, digitally-created images of brilliant marine flora and fauna give an illusion of underwater depth and silence enhancing the verse’s numerical and theatrical progression. The holistic story bubbles with life’s endless cycle. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-439-63569-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

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