An ideal choice for sharing with preschoolers and anyone else who has a soft spot for lovable but goofy dads.

READ REVIEW

WHEN DADS DON'T GROW UP

Here is an unabashed celebration of dads who enthusiastically embrace their inner children. The results are endearing, sometimes embarrassing but most often hilarious.

Parker invites readers to witness the following silly behavior: “When dads don’t grow up / they understand that shopping carts are for racing… / that clothes don’t have to match… / and that pancakes weren't meant to be round.” Alley uses pen and ink, watercolors and colored pencil to show an abundance of humorous details in a series of vignettes that greatly extend the text. A stern grocery-store manager glares at dad and daughter sitting in the wreckage of their shopping-cart race; a professorial dad lectures in a mad combination of stripes, argyle and plaid. Preschoolers will see themselves and, one hopes, their fathers in the madcap situations that populate this title. Whether finding fun in popping bubble wrap, throwing stones in water, playing sports indoors or “getting their hair wet (if they still have any),” the four ethnically and occupationally diverse dads—a florist, a doctor, a businessman and a construction worker—obviously relish these experiences as much as their children do.

An ideal choice for sharing with preschoolers and anyone else who has a soft spot for lovable but goofy dads. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3717-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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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 message is wholehearted and positive, but the cloying execution doesn’t stand out.

THE JOY IN YOU

A parent koala encourages its child to engage in every pursuit, and so do several other animals.

The British celebrity author, host of both children’s and adult TV programs, has a very positive message to spread, but there is nothing original in the lightweight text. The many animal characters pictured in diverting, fuzzy-edged illustrations engage in various activities as the text encourages them. “You can sing! If you love to sing, sing. / Shout at the top of your lungs, or whisper soft and sweet.” On verso, a frog quartet harmonizes, while across the gutter, a lion is shown with open mouth roaring as a small bird presumably whispers. Using rhyme and alliteration but without real poetic consistency, lines such as these appear: “You can share. You can care. You can create. You can learn. / You can wonder. You can wander.” The pink flamingo creating a fantastic dessert with pineapple rings is an appealing image, and children will enjoy seeing the cuddly baby koala throughout the book as other animals step up for their showcase. The fantasy-forest setting and its animals will keep small children engaged, but the sweetness comes with a significant aftertaste of treacle. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 34.5% of actual size.)

The message is wholehearted and positive, but the cloying execution doesn’t stand out. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-18141-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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