Gale-force gusts of invigorating artwork and imagery will leave readers breathless in windswept wonder.

WHEN THE WIND BLOWS

Whipping, wild wind calls a grandmother and her grandson out-of-doors into the frenzied, fantastic fray with a kite and giddy grins.

Electric colors (cerulean blues, emerald greens, brilliant magentas) evoke the kinetic energy that crackles before a storm and the irrepressible excitement a good squall brings out in young and old. Who really feels gray and dreary right before a proper storm? Cheerful, phosphorescent illustrations stretch across double-page spreads, with the boy’s flapping kite, the salty seaside town, its beach and white-capped ocean all bending to the wind’s howl. The artwork’s consistent slant creates a joyously cockeyed perspective that conveys the madcap glee of the grandmother and grandchild’s pre-storm surge through their neighborhood. Young readers race alongside them, pausing to scan each scene for the bustling activities of others: a boatman’s wave, a bundled baby, a leaping dog, a bride and groom emerging from the chapel. The wind whirls all around these townsfolk and through the book’s exhilarating verse too—metronomic and as succinct as the heartbeat throbbing in the cold ears of a child racing back to his dry house: “Trees dance. / Spiders curl. / Mice shiver. / Leaves swirl.”

Gale-force gusts of invigorating artwork and imagery will leave readers breathless in windswept wonder. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16015-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 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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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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