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

HELLO, CIRCULOS!

SHAPES IN ENGLISH Y ESPAÑOL

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. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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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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This ambitious, interactive exploration of color will be of particular appeal to dog lovers.

COLOR DOG

A chunky board book about colors features photographs of dogs and incorporates many interactive elements.

Even the front cover of this title is interactive. Pull a large red tab, and a bulldog’s head moves back and forth as he chews on the shoelace of a red tennis shoe. Inside, further interactive features, rhyming text, and illustrations featuring cute pups and their adorable antics await. For example, the orange pages offer a collage of pumpkins, autumn foliage, puppies, and a cat, reading: “Orange the patch of pumpkins, / Orange the autumn leaves, / Orange the frumpy, napping cat… / that I chase up a tree.” One of the pumpkins is a flap that conceals the face of a precious pup, and another, larger flap hides a pop-up tree branch on which an orange kitty perches. Other pages incorporate some more noxious surprises, such as: “Green the swamp I love to swim in, / Green the summer grass, / Green the color of the air… / when my dog food gives me gas.” Pull the tab here to trigger a large green cloud that emanates from the back end of a suitably embarrassed-looking basset hound.

This ambitious, interactive exploration of color will be of particular appeal to dog lovers. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4986-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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