Even young sleuths who had little trouble finding Waldo may be challenged by some of these exercises in pattern recognition.

ONE IS NOT A PAIR

Combining the premises of Odd One Out (2014) and Where’s the Pair? (2015), galleries of almost identical birds, teddy bears, colorful socks, ice cream cones, and other items invite readers to match up identical pairs—then find outliers.

Good luck with that. Against misleadingly simple monochrome backgrounds, Teckentrup arranges odd numbers of familiar items—from 11 birds to 61 colored pencils—composed of multiple small geometrical elements. Haworth tells readers what to do in accompanying verses: “These red-and-white toadstools / are covered in spots, / and the ladybugs, too, / have splendid black dots. / Match up the toadstools— / there are two of each kind. / But there’s one with no mate, / which you have to find!” Several maddeningly similar mushrooms of slightly varying sizes and spot density are placed on a deep-green field, each with a ladybug that has the same number of spots as its mushroom. Spotting the one mushroom-and-ladybug pair that does not have a corresponding match is a significant challenge. The puzzles appear in an apparently arbitrary sequence rather than in increasing order of difficulty, but the final one, in which pairs (plus one unspecified singleton) drawn from all the previous pages are scattered, truly caps the lot.

Even young sleuths who had little trouble finding Waldo may be challenged by some of these exercises in pattern recognition. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9319-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last.

GREEN IS FOR CHRISTMAS

Familiar crayon characters argue over which color is the essential Christmas color.

Green starts by saying that green is for Christmas. After all, green is for holly. But Red objects. Red is for candy canes. Green is for fir trees, Green retorts. But Red is for Santa Claus, who agrees. (Santa is depicted as a white-bearded White man.) Then White joins the fray. After spending the year being invisible, White isn’t giving up the distinction of association with Christmas. Snow, anyone? But then there’s Silver: stars and bells. And Brown: cookies and reindeer! At this point, everyone is confused. But they come together and agree that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without all of them together. Someone may get the last word, though. In Daywalt and Jeffers’ now-signature style, the crayon-written text is spare and humorous, while the crayon characters engage with each other against a bare white background, vying for attention. Dot-eyed faces and stick legs on each object turn them all into comical, if similar, personalities. But the series’ original cleverness is absent here, leaving readers with a perfunctory recitation of attributes. Fans of the crayon books may delight in another themed installment; those who aren’t already fans will likely find it lacking. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-35338-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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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