Design flaws aside, the book’s timely message of universality among diversity is a highly relevant one.

READ REVIEW

ARE YOUR STARS LIKE MY STARS?

No matter how different our lives are, some things are the same.

A child’s world is full of color—and, if they look closely, full of wonder. Most double-page spreads of this picture book feature rhyming verse set on the left-hand page that describes in developmentally appropriate language how a child narrator sees a color. Gold, for example, is “warm” and “full of sparkle,” whereas blue is “deep, wide, and open.” Each stanza ends with versions of the same question, which concludes across the gutter or after a page turn: “Is your gold… / …like my gold?” creating a repetitive pattern that will delight young readers. The text is accompanied by rich illustrations of diverse children from all around the world, including South Asia, Latin America, East Asia, and Western settings. The final page features a black child and a white child sitting arm and arm on a hilltop, looking at the same star, driving home the message that our similarities bring us together and our differences make us more beautiful. The best feature of the book is the highly textured, collage-style illustrations, many of which contain soft strokes of color that give the images a pleasantly dreamlike quality. Unfortunately, the print is small, and the single lines that begin with “…like my” often get swallowed up in the pictures and are difficult to find.

Design flaws aside, the book’s timely message of universality among diversity is a highly relevant one. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3013-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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