A classic-feeling, homey celebration of spring’s beginning.

READ REVIEW

WILLIAM WAKES UP

A young boy and his animal friends awaken from a long winter’s nap and prepare to welcome a special guest.

William looks out the window of his forest cabin to a dawning, blooming world. Calling to the hibernating animals who share his bed, he says, “Wake up! It’s spring! / Today’s the day— / a special guest is on the way.” Only Chipmunk answers the call initially, and the two bake together until they realize the job is too big for just them. William returns to the bed, calling the other animals one by one to come assist in the cleaning and decorating. When “special guest” Bluebird finally arrives—and after sluggard Raccoon agrees to help Bluebird build its nest—they finally sit down to a spring picnic. The animals wake in a similar order to how they settled in during Ashman and Groenink’s previous book, William’s Winter Nap (2017). And as with that title, the countdown and the rhyming text with a repeating chorus make this an ideal read-aloud for young listeners. The mostly mono- and bisyllabic vocabulary lends a simple elegance to the tale. Earth tones keep the pencil-and-Photoshop illustrations warm and cozy, and additional feelings of familiarity arise from the drafting style, which is reminiscent of mid-20th-century illustration. Prominent pencil marks are grainy and natural, complementing the woodsy story setting. William has pale skin and straight, black hair.

A classic-feeling, homey celebration of spring’s beginning. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2283-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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