Devotees of the Alice books will be transported to Wonderland with this fine first taste of key characters in Carroll’s...

A IS FOR ALICE

AN ALPHABET BOOK

From the Macmillan Alice series

They’re all here…Alice, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar (sans hookah), the Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts, even the sleepy dormouse!

This board book abecedary brings together characters based on Carroll’s famous story along with Tenniel’s classic illustrations, here reproduced in bright colors, giving preschoolers an interesting new twist on the alphabet. Each uppercase letter is paired with a corresponding word and an illustration, mostly one per page. Many of the illustrations may be familiar to Alice enthusiasts; supplemental pictures and decorative motifs in Tenniel’s style are used to fill in the gaps in the alphabet. For “I is for Invitation,” a note on pink paper, decorated with roses and a large, crowned heart, reads “Please come to tea, from Mad Hatter.” Some letters stretch harder than others. “V is for Vanish” shows a picture of a fading Cheshire Cat in a tree, which will be quite opaque to most board-book readers. Publishing simultaneously, White Rabbit: A Counting Book takes readers from one to 10, including two tasty treats for Alice to try, five grins from the Cheshire Cat, and eight flamingos for a game of croquet. Toddlers and preschoolers may not really understand these two introductions to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but older Alice fans will be delighted to share their enthusiasm for Carroll’s classics through these novelty board books.

Devotees of the Alice books will be transported to Wonderland with this fine first taste of key characters in Carroll’s iconic stories. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5098-2054-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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