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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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.


Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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