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

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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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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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