A fun-filled revamp of the bedtime genre and a humorous choice for the not-quite-sleepy set.

MAX AND THE WON'T GO TO BED SHOW

“Please put your hands together for…MAX THE MAGNIFICENT!”

Vaudevillian hyperbole abounds as young magician Max attempts to achieve the impossible—he plans to avoid going to sleep! Star-spangled, whimsical and circus-bright illustrations show the young conjurer as he performs a multitude of tricks, from making milk slowly disappear (eating his bedtime snack) and taming a savage beast (trying to get his dog to sit and stay) to pulling a rabbit from under his bed (gathering his stuffed animals up for the night). But wait, there’s more! “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we strongly advise you NEVER to try this at home… / Max asks for ten—yes, TEN!—bedtime stories. / (His mom says she’ll read two.)” As much fun to read as it is to listen to, this going-to-sleep book hits on all of the necessary bedtime rituals (including tooth brushing) and will provide enjoyment and satisfaction for all concerned; the spot-on ballyhoo is bound to provoke snorts and giggles, while the nicely controlled pace eventually slows to allow all young listeners to gradually hunker down for a good night’s rest.

A fun-filled revamp of the bedtime genre and a humorous choice for the not-quite-sleepy set. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-70822-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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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DONOVAN'S BIG DAY

It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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