DIDI AND DADDY ON THE PROMENADE

A preschooler drags her father from his comfy bed for adventures on the landmark Brooklyn Promenade. Well-known as a tourist magnet for its striking views of Manhattan from across New York City's East River, the Promenade is also a haven for the urban residents. Singer's (The Circus Lunicus, 2000, etc.) well-chosen spare sentences describe the simple joys of early childhood, "What will she see today? / A blue car? / A yellow car? / A ship with a flag?" Delightful interactions of father and daughter, " 'Vroom! Zoom!' roars Didi. / 'Wide glide' says Daddy. / Side by side they pretend to ride." Singer masterfully captures the young girl's short attention span from page to page: vehicle spotting, petting puppies, listening to birds, cars, and music, dancing, meeting friends, sliding, playing in the sandbox—all of this on a ribbon of pavement built above the Brooklyn/Queens expressway. Parents will recognize the knowing refrain " 'Didi, go slow!' / But Didi says, " 'No!' ” The watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations capture the distinctive qualities of each inhabitant enjoying the day, from the movement of the street musicians to the multitude of dogs, in addition to portraying the uniqueness of place—the wind blowing inland, the light on the river. Small details reflect a knowing eye while giving readers lots to examine. The sweeping panoramic views are strikingly reproduced on double-paged spreads and those who know the area can spot familiar sites from the Statue of Liberty to the twin towers on down to the Brooklyn Bridge. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 19, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-04640-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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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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Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents.

TO THE MOON AND BACK FOR YOU

A poetic ode to women who became mothers despite the challenges they faced.

Whether navigating the roughest seas, crossing the hottest deserts, or pushing through painful brambles, the mothers in this book know their long, hard journeys were worth the effort. There might have been failure and doubt, but now that it’s all over, they know they’d “do it all over again. For you.” First-person narration expresses in metaphor the extraordinary lengths some mothers will go to achieve their dream of holding a child in their arms. Sentimental and flowery, the text is broad enough to apply to the journeys of many mothers—even though the text is gender neutral, the illustrations clearly center the mother’s experience. At times another figure, often male-presenting, is shown alongside a mother. Soft, jewel-toned illustrations peppered with textures depict families with a variety of skin tones and hair colors/textures. The assortment of mothers shown demonstrates the universality of the message, but it also contributes to the absence of a strong visual throughline. In the concluding author’s note, Serhant shares her personal struggle to conceive her child, which included fertility treatments and IVF. Ultimately, although the sentiment is lovely, the message is too abstract to be understood by children and will be better received and appreciated by parents.

Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-17388-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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