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HELLO, CIRCULOS!

SHAPES IN ENGLISH Y ESPAÑOL

Despite the flaws in layout and design in both books, the breathtaking works of art give youngsters much to pore over.

The San Antonio Museum of Art, the San Antonio Public Library Foundation and Trinity University Press team up to produce a bilingual Spanish and English ode to color and art.

Each single- or double-page spread features one shape and spotlights various works from the museum’s collection of contemporary, 20th-century, traditional and folk art from around the world. The text, in an unnecessarily small font, engages readers with simple questions about the shape and art in question. A bold, bilingual heading paired with a dotted-outline image announces the shape. Most of the art choices are really quite stunning and will engage young readers, such as a detail from the Frank Stella painting Double Scramble for the “square” page and a folk sculpture of a sun from Metepec, Mexico, as an example of a circle. Unfortunately, the layout of some spreads is overly busy and may make it hard for youngsters to appreciate the art and the shape in question. The “star” page presents some wonderful images squeezed on one page that would have been better served on two. The sister title, Colores Everywhere, has similar strengths and problems. The final spread of each title shows thumbnails of the artwork from the previous pages and lists the artists and their media. The series works better to encourage art appreciation than as an introduction to shapes and colors.

Despite the flaws in layout and design in both books, the breathtaking works of art give youngsters much to pore over. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59534-140-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Trinity Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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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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