A picture book to count on for delightful shared reading.

ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR

 

Share and share alike! Gehl’s debut picture-book text is a silly romp of a counting book with a lesson in sharing to boot. Its rhyming text opens with a giggle-inspiring dilemma: “ONE big pair of underwear. / TWO brown bears who hate to share. ONE bear wears the underwear. // ONE bear growls, ‘That isn’t fair!’ ” Ensuing pages display similarly silly conundrums: only two snacks for three yaks, just five pillows and mats for six sleepy cats, and so on. The only thing that these creatures seem to share is a case of the greedies. For every situation, the one who comes up short is less-than-pleased, with the excluded cat, for example, thinking “Rats! Rats! Rats!” as it inflates an air mattress (which has a hole in it). Such comical twists abound in Lichtenheld’s illustrations, which more than hold their own against the text’s goofy details and seem like they would translate well into animation. Ultimately, a group of 20 pigs amicably share just 10 playground slides, and seeing this, the bears are inspired to share their underwear, as depicted in the cover art. The other animals follow suit, and all’s well that ends well—even if the text credits the underwear, rather than the (ironically) generous pigs, for inspiring the feel-good camaraderie at book’s end.

A picture book to count on for delightful shared reading. (Picture book 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5336-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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