Thumb-sucking solutions can walk a tricky line between cajoling and shaming; happily, this does neither, but it might not be...

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MIA'S THUMB

The whole family tries to help a little girl break a persistent habit in this German import.

When Mia is sad, she sucks her thumb for comfort. When she is excited, she sucks her thumb to calm herself down. And when she must face her neighbor’s large dog, she sucks her thumb to give herself courage. Mia’s family tries everything they can think of to help her stop. Familiar cries of “You are too big for that!” and “Your teeth will get crooked!” fill the house, but Mia doesn’t care. Even the promise of ice cream in exchange for a half-hour break from the thumb fails (but only after seven cones). Grandma decides that she will start sucking her thumb too; if Mia likes it so much, why shouldn’t she? That just might be the push that Mia needs. Stille’s picture-book debut confronts a common problem with a gentle, humorous solution. The large blocks of patterned borders and cut-paper collages in mossy greens and simple earth tones downplay any drama. An abrupt ending never quite reveals if Mia has conquered her habit (one wishes for an extra beat or two of denouement), but her thumb is finally seen out of her mouth.

Thumb-sucking solutions can walk a tricky line between cajoling and shaming; happily, this does neither, but it might not be the easiest solution to imitate in real life. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3067-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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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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