WHO IS MAKING A MESS?

From spilled motor oil to sprayed water, everyone makes a mess.

The repeated phrase “Who is making a mess?” finds everyone from Grandpa to the baby involved in the untidiness. The marriage of D’Haene’s text with Ryan’s illustrations invites readers to guess who’s made each mess based on the images. The purposefully vague initial depiction of the culprit often challenges readers’ assumptions of who has left each smear or heap of debris. For example, the opening illustration shows a denim-clad someone changing the oil in a car, legs poking out from underneath. A turn of the page reveals that it is Mama making that mess while her partner or spouse (gender is unclear) wrangles the little ones. Other scenes—Grandpa baking while wearing an apron and with a baby in a back carrier—play out similarly. The diverse cast includes same-sex parents, interracial families, and many children and adults of color. The repetition of D’Haene’s question-and-answer structure makes it nicely predictable for little readers, with familiarity quicker to build upon repeat readings. Ryan’s illustrations feel alive thanks to the motion of the mess itself, with flying blobs of batter, juicy drips of food, and sprinkles of grease and oil. Charming details provide plenty for readers to pore over each page, and the deep orange, red, and golden yellow tones give the book warmth.

Good clean fun. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68152-503-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Amicus Ink

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A sweet if uneven expression of parents’ love for babies.

EVERYTHING YOU

A love song to baby.

Rhyming verse expresses animal parents’ love for their little ones and is accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations of animal families rendered in bold colors and rounded forms. The succinct text pairs nicely with the spare art style, which offers uncluttered spreads focused on the parent-and-child interactions. “You’re everything FRESH, / the morning’s first dew,” reads one spread, for example, which is illustrated with a picture of a panda cub standing on top of its prone parent while reaching for a dewdrop falling from a branch. Behind them, a blue background is warmed by a huge, yellow semicircle representing the rising sun. Other animal families occupy other pages, so there’s no sequential storyline to speak of, but the text as a whole is framed by an opening spread depicting crocodile parents waiting for their (very large) egg to hatch, and hatch it does in the closing spread, which reads, “You’re every wish answered, / our hearts, how they grew… / every day countless, / everything you.” While the sentiment here is heartfelt, this use of “every day countless” is one example of several instances when word choices undermine clarity.

A sweet if uneven expression of parents’ love for babies. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30141-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe.

MEET BABY SHARK

Little ones meet Baby Shark’s extended family and friends in this board-book version of the viral online Pinkfong video.

Sensibly, this offering does not attempt to replicate the song, since readers have likely viewed it multiple times if the 3.5 billion views (and counting) are any indication. Each line of this version is shared on a double-page spread featuring a character: Baby Shark, the rest of the Shark family (Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and Grandpa), and a couple of critters not mentioned in the song (Baby Turtle, a terrified fish named William, and Pinkfong, the brand’s fox logo). The primary text will be meaningful only to readers familiar with the song: “GRANDPA SHARK DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO.” A few words about each character and how they relate to Baby Shark accompany their appearance: “Grandpa Shark is wise and smart. He enjoys sharing his cooking skills with Baby Shark.” Rounded tabs at the top and the right margin of the book allow little fingers to easily turn the pages and readily access their favorite spreads. The two-dimensional gum ball–colored art is true to the source, and fans will not be disappointed. While Mommy and Daddy are color-coded in pink and blue, respectively and stereotypically, the rest of the creatures featured are not assigned colors based on gender.

Fans of the earworm will enjoy Baby Shark’s expanded universe. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-296589-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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