WHO’S AT HOME?

Strikingly detailed illustrations and some lesser-known animals make this more than just another lift-the-flap book. In habitats ranging from jungle and desert to woodland and coral reef, Silver places eight animals in their natural surroundings and challenges young children to guess who they are from her riddles: “I have four legs and a long bushy tail. I live high up inside a hollow tree. What am I?” The tricky answer to this one? A monkey—the jungle in the background is an important clue. Other featured animals are the puffin, owl, bat, otter, snake, octopus and tiger. The illustrations are rich in both color and detail, accurately reflecting the animals’ habitats and inviting the reader to enter into them. While some spreads give readers a visual clue as to the identity of the dweller, most will really test children’s animal-identification skills. Backmatter consists of a paragraph of further information about each animal, which, except for the owl, are specifically identified. The small trim makes this exploration of habitats nicely intimate. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 19, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-935021-18-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Mathew Price

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009

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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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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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