A recipe for storytime fun.


From the Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective series

Mitzi Tulane, preschool detective, is back, and this time she’s got helpers.

Mitzi’s friend Max is at her apartment on a play date, and muffins are on the snack menu. Mitzi is a black child with dark brown skin, and Max, with light, pinkish skin and blond hair, appears white like Mitzi’s father and baby brother, Kev. When the friends get the muffins, Max warns Mitzi that her dad might’ve sneaked something into them: “Like…spinach,” he whispers. Mitzi is aghast. Max speaks from experience, since his mother has indulged in such vegetable-hiding treachery, and Mitzi decides to investigate. When her magnifying glass can’t provide conclusive evidence about a suspicious speck that may or may not be a vegetable, they sneak across the hall, past Mitzi’s dad on the phone and the super (a white man called “Tall Dan”), to consult with science-loving Latino twins Juan and Juanita. A microscope is no help, but Bun Bun (their pet rabbit) gobbles up the crumb, leading everyone to conclude that it was a bit of carrot. Juanita writes up a report detailing the lapin expert witness’s findings, which the friends share with Tall Dan as they head back to Mitzi’s apartment, triumphant. McLaughlin’s text is both funny and respectful of its protagonists, while Ohi’s colorful, cartoon illustrations ramp up the humor in this story and add visual interest with setting details.

A recipe for storytime fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-449-81916-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.


This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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