A good choice for children with younger siblings and cousins, especially Latinos

MARIO & BABY GIA

Returning with his second picture book, Lopez (Mud Tacos, 2009) stresses the importance of family.

Preoccupied with his approaching birthday, Mario cannot find anyone to play with. His sister Marissa and cousin Rosie are having a girls-only tea party in the backyard, while his cousin Chico has baseball practice. Mario is not exactly happy when Nana suggests that he help out by watching his baby cousin, Gia. He begrudgingly agrees, as “[h]e knew he should be responsible.” The exasperation that comes with entertaining a toddler quickly becomes clear in various scenes. Gia keeps calling him “Marigold.” Playing ball in the backyard ends in chaos, and during snacktime, Gia is more interested in playing with her bowl than she is with actually eating. When Mario tries to read Gia a book, she tears a page, leaving Mario frustrated. His anger swiftly melts when Gia asks for a story, and he tells her all about his adventures with his sister and the other cousins. “You’ll see. You’re a part of our family. We’ll teach you everything you need to know.” The book concludes with a joint surprise birthday party for both Gia and Mario. Roos continues the commercial-looking cartoon-style illustrations from the earlier Mario book, which work well with the story, particularly during Mario’s stories.

A good choice for children with younger siblings and cousins, especially Latinos . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-451-23417-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Celebra/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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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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The book is available in just about every format--but this is the perfect one.

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU

POP-UP

It's hard to believe that a pop-up wasn't the creators' original intention, so seamlessly do moveable parts dovetail into this modern classic's storyline.

In contrast to the tale's 1998 pop -up version, the figures here move on every page, and with an unusually graceful naturalism to boot. From pulling down Big Nutbrown Hare's ears on the opening spread to make sure he's listening to drowsily turning his head to accept a final good-night kiss in a multi-leveled pull-down tableau at the close, all of Little Nutbrown Hare's hops, stretches and small gestures serve the poetically spare text—as do Big Nutbrown's wider, higher responses to his charge's challenges. As readers turn a flap to read Big Nutbrown's "But I love you this much," his arms extend to demonstrate. The emotional connection between the two hares is clearer than ever in Jeram's peaceful, restrained outdoor scenes, which are slightly larger than those in the trade edition, and the closing scene is made even more intimate by hiding the closing line ("I love you right up to the moon—and back") until an inconspicuous flap is opened up.  

The book is available in just about every format--but this is the perfect one. (Pop-up picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5378-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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