Though its heart is in the right place, this tale doesn’t come close to the artistry of Kevin Henkes’ Owen (1993), still the...

I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO

A little bear struggles with separation anxiety as he prepares to go to school for the first time—without Blankie.

“Edward and Blankie met on the first day of Edward.” The treacly text goes on to describe how they’ve been inseparable ever since, playing, napping and cuddling together. Blankie mops up Edward’s tears when he’s sad, and Edward gives him a bath in the washing machine after an unfortunate encounter with an orange Popsicle. When Edward informs the tumbling blanket that he misses it, his mother remarks that it’s good practice for when he goes to school. Edward is aghast. Mama explains that “[s]chool is a GREAT place to make new friends and try new things,” telling Edward that like Blankie, she will be sad when he goes off to school but happy for him too. Edward and Mama brainstorm ways Blankie can keep busy, and thus steeled, Edward and Blankie turn in. Richmond depicts Edward as an animate teddy bear and Blankie as a blue fabric rectangle of inconsistent size and softness. Amateurish-looking rather than childlike, the watercolor illustrations are so splotchy and ill-defined that it’s often hard to distinguish Blankie from, say, Edward’s sheets or clothing.

Though its heart is in the right place, this tale doesn’t come close to the artistry of Kevin Henkes’ Owen (1993), still the gold standard. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4022-9715-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more