A sweet, charming story of overcoming familiar difficulties during the hectic holiday season, with the help of those who...

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OLIVER ELEPHANT

Noah and his little sister, Evie-May, are Christmas shopping with Mommy.

The family heads to a “Christmassy shop” with a long gift list. Evie-May is in a stroller, and Noah has a stuffed elephant named Oliver with him. Noah’s love for his favorite toy is evident in the first few illustrations, and the two have lots of imaginary fun with all of the colorful merchandise in the store while Mommy checks names off of the list. Their adventure, complete with the odd mishap or two, is delivered in rhyming text and light, airy, expressive illustrations. Noah and Oliver eventually tire of shopping, and they all stop at a cafe, where a slice of chocolate cake brings a smile back to Noah’s face—but Oliver slips off Noah’s seat, and they leave without him. When Noah discovers that Oliver is lost, he panics. Children will relate to Noah’s anguish as he, Mommy, and Evie-May retrace their steps, revisiting all of the places they’d been, with no luck. Noah cries, “Oliver Elephant, where can you be? / Oliver Elephant, come back to me!” Children will delight in discovering Oliver’s hiding place. Some sharp-eyed readers may even have predicted where he’s been.

A sweet, charming story of overcoming familiar difficulties during the hectic holiday season, with the help of those who love you. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0266-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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