Kids will be happy to dive right in, whether it’s shared in a lap or as part of a group.

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THE DEEP, DEEP PUDDLE

Looking for a counting book that makes a splash?

When an impossibly deep puddle forms in the middle of a busy city street, a shaggy dog falls in and sinks to its mysterious depths. Then two stray cats wander too close and fall in too. Three squirrels, four pigeons and five children follow suit, and then six tourists, seven taxis, eight street vendors and nine robbers! Luckily, 10 police officers appear, bringing 11 tanker trucks and 12 workers with hoses that suck up all the water. The count then reverses, with 12 workers packing up the 11 trucks, 10 police officers arresting the robbers and so forth. Finally, the shaggy dog emerges, shaking the water off his coat and starting a brand new puddle in the process. This otherwise ordinary counting story distinguishes itself with a bit of plot and a rich, precise vocabulary, making it appropriate for a wide range of ages. Soft watercolor illustrations with lots of blues and yellows depict the chaos in exacting detail. Children will enjoy poring over these illustrations, especially the one in which all of the people, animals and objects sink into the puddle. Many beguiling details, such as a cat pinching its nose and a robber grabbing for dollar bills, are there for the spotting.

Kids will be happy to dive right in, whether it’s shared in a lap or as part of a group. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3765-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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