Appealing.

READ REVIEW

TROLL SWAP

Family...is right where we belong.

Most trolls are messy and mucky and like scaring people. The hairy troll named Timothy Limpet is different; he’s “nice and polite and tidy.” (The other trolls don’t like him.) He looks like a crazy quilt: His head is a big blue ball, his cup-shaped body has green polka dots, and his limbs sport colorful stripes. Meanwhile, there’s a little girl named Tabitha Lumpit, who’s brash and messy and loud and acts altogether like...well, you know. One day, Tabitha and Timothy, not looking where they’re going, literally bump heads. Each immediately sees that the other is quite different from what one would expect, and they get an idea—to switch places. Tabitha goes to stay with the trolls, and Timothy moves in with Tabitha’s parents. At first, everything works out well. Then Mommy and Daddy start to miss Tabitha, just as the trolls begin to miss Timothy, and both Tabitha and Timothy find being with people just like them is kind of boring. They decide to swap back and “go home, where they belonged,” and everybody lives happily ever after. Hodgkinson’s story, while hardly revolutionary, is satisfying. Design elements add much appeal, with childlike stylings and exaggerated perspectives. In a nifty touch, the text in dialogue bubbles is neatly typed for the “nice” characters and looks like clumsy block lettering for the “mucky.”

Appealing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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DONOVAN'S BIG DAY

It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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