The magic hour reveals the magical bond between a father and son.

DADDY, ME, AND THE MAGIC HOUR

A dad and his child share the time between sundown and dark exploring their world together.

Returning home from work and school, dad starts dinner while mom feeds the baby. But after dinner, it’s the titular Magic Hour, time for just father and the T-shirt–and-shorts–clad narrator to enjoy a post-dinner walk. As they wander, the protagonist’s red plastic bucket fills with found treasures that mark the highlights of the evening. A woman watering roses donates one after a playful sprinkle; the child pets a friendly dog, and then child and dad use the dog’s stick to play tic-tac-toe and to fence. They tickle each other with some bird feathers and swing hand in hand on the playground. Calm descends as the light in the illustrations fades. Crickets chirp; the duo catch fireflies in their hands. Dad swings the child up on his shoulders: “Together, we make a quiet giant / who can almost reach the moon.” The final page shows Mommy tucking the protagonist in. She has the rose and a daisy also gathered on the walk, and the bucket and treasures are prominently displayed. Rich’s characters are delightfully expressive, the narrator’s exuberance and wonder sometimes barely contained. And it’s clear that the father cherishes his bond with his child. All four family members have light-brown skin and dark hair; the people in their neighborhood are diverse.

The magic hour reveals the magical bond between a father and son. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0791-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby.

BABY GOES TO MARKET

Baby is so charming that various vendors in this West African market gift him all sorts of yummies.

Baby rides on Mama’s back, held snug by a bright cloth wrap. Mama navigates the busy, colorful outdoor market, her woven basket balanced on her head. The text unrolls rhythmically in Atinuke’s storyteller’s voice: “Market is very crowded. Baby is very curious. Baby is so curious that Mrs. Ade, the banana seller, gives Baby six bananas.” Baby eats one and puts the remaining bananas in Mama’s basket. All the while Mama shops, unbeknownst to her, vendors continue to respond to Baby’s transparent delight with five oranges, four “sugary chin-chin biscuits,” three “roasted sweet corn,” and two pieces of coconut. With each delicacy given, Baby eats one and puts the rest in the basket. When Mama sees all the extra foodstuffs she didn’t buy, she’s concerned, until the vendors reassure her: “We gave those things to Baby!” In her debut picture book, Brooksbank offers bright, bustling tableaux of shoppers, vendors, and goods. The smiling, all-black cast sort through myriad wares, while the text keeps up its rhythm, introducing both typical items bought in a West African market and a gentle lesson in arithmetic as Baby alternately snacks on and stashes his gifts.

Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9570-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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