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YOU BROKE IT!

A hilarious and heartwarming exposé of adults’ often ridiculous expectations for children.

Various anthropomorphized animals and natural phenomena scold their children for behaving in accordance with their natures.

A chick cracks through its shell, only for its parent to admonish it for breaking its egg. A wolf tells its howling cub to be quiet. A cloud wants its child to stop crying (raining). Over and over again, these parents voice their disapproval. The repetitive structure allows both tension and comedy to steadily build, leaving readers wondering exactly how these series of demands and reprimands will be resolved—after all, aren’t these children simply being true to themselves? A pig scolds its child for wallowing in the mud, a frog chides its offspring for leaping into the water, and a worm tells its little one to “stop squirming!” It all culminates when a young octopus finally speaks up: “I am just being me.” The enveloping hug from the parent octopus says it all. This brief, simple story wastes no words, instead delivering a wallop of humor and emotion that will both entertain and foster empathy in adults inclined to punish youngsters for simply following their natural inclinations. Squiggly illustrations with minimal outlines and brief splashes of color emphasize the silliness of the demands. The visuals effectively get the action across while letting the absurdity of the parents’ orders and concerns speak for themselves.

A hilarious and heartwarming exposé of adults’ often ridiculous expectations for children. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780593660409

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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