YOU'RE MY BOO

A day in the life of a family is more than the sum of its adorable parts.

“You’re my peek-a-boo, my sneak-a-boo, / my laughing till-you-squeak-a-boo.” So begins this mother fox’s celebration of her quick, sneaky, funny, naughty little fox cub. All day long, the toddler plays, alternating between engaging its baby sibling and teasing it. And all day long, the mother cajoles, comforts, or corrects the child’s behavior, using the “boo” diminutive throughout, until at day’s end the child is comforted and tucked in to sleep. Adult readers with a low saccharine tolerance may shudder at the sweetness of the endeavor, but with its meticulous scansion and playful affection, it subtly morphs into a story that is both a silly name litany (always popular with young readers) and a quietly reassuring statement of continual mischief-proof parental love (“And no matter what you do… / you will always be my boo”). The book also draws a fairly neat line between the “boo” of “peek-a-boo” and the contemporary, affectionate slang term for “sweetheart.” Withrow’s accompanying pencil, collage, and digital art aptly illuminates the cub’s day, excelling in vignettes that illustrate the protagonist’s shenanigans even as the text delivers simple, one-word descriptions. In the end, it’s the love between parent and child that carries the story.

Boo-tiful. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4160-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A worthwhile message that just doesn't quite fly.

NO TWO ALIKE

A sadly lackluster paean to the premise that “no two snowflakes are alike, / almost, almost… / but not quite.”

Beginning with snowflakes, Baker then branches out to celebrate the uniqueness of other things, some found in nature, some manmade—nests, branches, leaves and forests. “No two fences, long and low, / no two roads—where do they go? / No two bridges, wood or stone, / no two houses— / anyone home?” His ultimate message, arrived at on almost the final page, is that every living thing is one of a kind. While it is certainly an important message, the very young may not make the leap from the animals and things that populate the book to humans, which make no appearance. Baker’s digital illustrations fill the spreads with simple shapes and soft, woodsy colors. The two red birds (rather like crestless cardinals) that fly through this wintry wonderland steal the show. Their expressions are adorable, their antics endearing and rather anthropomorphic—one skis, while the other tries to pelt a fox with snowballs. But they may not be enough to carry the flat text and lack of a story line. Indeed, the book depends on the rhymes and the cute birds to keep the pages turning.

A worthwhile message that just doesn't quite fly. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1742-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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