TURTLE WALK

A family of turtles celebrates four seasons with a long walk around its small world.

On the first page, a bright green turtle with a jaunty head decoration, perhaps a leaf or blade of grass, observes two bright butterflies in the sunlight outside a cave. Sleepy turtles—perhaps inside the cave—wake up on the title page. The simple, rhyming text uses very few words. A repeated refrain, “Turtle walk. Nice and slow. / Here we go,” accompanies the little group of four on its journey beginning at the pond by the cave, across a stream, and through a field of flowers. They huddle in spring rain under a daffodil, walk past sunflowers and children on a sunlit playground; they watch fireflies in the dark. A repeated call and response (“Are we there yet?”/ “No”) familiar to traveling families follows the refrain throughout. Phelan’s artwork is lively and visually bright, with rich colors and impressionistic lines; the flat faces of the turtles are expressive, and their round bodies convey personality with a few brush strokes. The turtles pass an apple orchard and a pumpkin patch—including a jack-o’-lantern—as red and yellow leaves begin to fall. The winter return to pond and cave is a spirited, snowy slide. The rhyming text and bright colors will work in toddler storytime as well as for new readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 30.1% of actual size.)

Playful and lighthearted. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293413-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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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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Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits.

PLANTS FEED ME

This simplest of informational picture books offers a sensible, sunny celebration of the plants—specifically the parts of plants—that we eat.

The opening scene shows a boy seated at table surrounded by a rich harvest. He’s holding a watermelon rind that mirrors the wide grin he wears, helping to set the good-natured tone of the book. As preschoolers examine the pages, they will learn about the featured fruits and vegetables and how they grew. Warm gouache-and–colored-pencil illustrations first depict a garden where “Plants reach up for the sun. / They grow down in the ground.” As the narrator goes on to explain that “I eat different parts from different plants,” such as roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, flowers and seeds, youngsters will find labeled images to peruse. The short, declarative sentences are easily digested by the very youngest and will tempt burgeoning readers to test their skills. Best of all, children will surely be inspired to taste some of the produce the next time it appears on their plates.

Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2526-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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