I SAW THE SEA AND THE SEA SAW ME

A jaunt to the seashore has an unexpected ending for a young explorer who investigates the sea using her five senses. In turn, the sea seems to examine the little girl. “I touched the cold and foamy wet. We splashed and danced each time we met.” Cash’s simple rhymes offer readers playful, easily grasped examples of the five senses: the tangy smell of the air, the roar of the waves, etc. A close encounter with an inquisitive jellyfish puts an end to the girl’s fun. At that point the young protagonist erupts into a fury of toddler proportions. “Stupid water! Stupid land! Stupid salt! Stupid sand!” Her tirade continues for two pages, as she castigates the sea and its creatures. The realistically rendered tantrum is certain to cause a cascade of giggles from young readers, although whether adults will wish to share the vituperative outpouring of the word “stupid” with their children or charges is another story. The comic edge of the illustrations takes the sting, so to speak, out of the debatable word choice, humorously depicting the young girl stomping about with a ferocious scowl. A soothing soak in the tub returns the child’s equanimity and, with that, her fondness for the sea. Cash’s brightly colored pictures offer an engaging range of perspectives to intrigue readers. Brilliant swaths of blue flow across the white backdrop of the horizon, vibrantly contrasting with the intense yellow hues of the beach. Comical touches keep the laughs coming—as in the two-page spread which depicts the girl hollering full tilt in the back of her car while at the side of the road, an apologetic-looking jellyfish dolefully watches the passing vehicle. However, the sparkling artwork and initially effervescent tone is somewhat dimmed by the capricious twists of the tale. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-670-89966-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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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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WHERE IS THE GREEN SHEEP?

Fox’s latest is a participation story filled with a variety of sheep. There are thin sheep and wide sheep, swing sheep and slide sheep, blue sheep and red sheep, sheep that are paired, complementing each other in some way. Only one kind seems to be missing and without a mate as the repetitious question asks, “Where is the green sheep?” Fox, a literacy consultant and reading professor, has once again produced a perfectly simple text with a patterned language and rhythm just right for toddlers experiencing the basics of life and budding readers learning to complete their sentences by looking at words and pictures together. Horacek’s clear, matching watercolor-and-pen cartoon-style drawings flawlessly render each ewe’s role, providing little ones a successful reading experience and ultimately finding the green sheep’s hiding place. Ideally easy and well-designed. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-15-204907-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2004

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