THE PILLOW WAR

From Novak (Mouse TV, 1994, etc.), an incomplete allegory that is something of a misfire. Unable to agree just which of them is their dog Sam's best friend, young Millie and Fred interrupt their bedtime preparations for a pillow fight that takes them down the stairs and out into the street, draws in the neighbors, and eventually escalates into worldwide conflict- -``Biff! Boof! Paff! Poof!/`Ah-ah-ahchoof!' '' Indulging his gift for comic exaggeration to its fullest, Novak expands the field of view as the battle encompasses land, sea, and air, until the climactic spread, which is brimming with armies of pajama-clad warriors half-visible beneath flurries of pillows. As Millie and Fred wear military headgear, and the fight doesn't end until Fred is hurt, there's an edge to the humor; Sam, understandably preferring to sleep peacefully alone, curls up in a closet at the end. Judging from the satiric overtones and all the frowning faces, Novak has more in mind than an exercise in absurdity—but when all the participants put down their pillows, smile, and go back to bed, readers will get a confusingly mixed message. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-531-30048-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998

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WAITING FOR BABY

One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will...

OY FEH SO?

Weekly Sunday visits from their two aunts and one uncle are so disagreeable that three children take steps to alter the atmosphere through some harmlessly exaggerated imitation.

Each Sunday afternoon the family guests arrive, heavily plop themselves on the living room furniture, and make negative, complaining and resigned statements. “Oy,” says Aunt Essy. “Feh,” says Aunt Chanah. “So?” says Uncle Sam. “That was all they ever said!” Despite the children’s parents’ attempts to make pleasant conversation or the children’s enthusiastic play-acting performed for the guests, the reaction is always the same uncongenial three words. Ink-and-watercolor illustrations depict Essy, Chanah and Sam with unflattering caricatures of stereotypical adult Jewish characters, with clownishly large noses, slouchy, overweight bodies and unsmiling faces. In exasperation, the children each take a role and comically mimic their aunts’ and uncle’s behavior, forcing laughter and recognition. This mishpocheh now redeems itself with a newfound willingness to tell family stories and loving childhood memories; the palette here modulates from muted tones to bright, sunny colors.

While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will immediately recognize, they will appreciate the overall sentiment even if they miss the Yiddish essence. Nu? (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55498-148-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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