While the story isn't new, this fresh-looking take on it will be appreciated in families welcoming a new addition to the...

CHLOE, INSTEAD

Adjusting to a new sibling is familiar territory in children's literature; the recognizable plot here is livened up with lively retro-style illustrations.

Told from the point of view of an older sister who'd wished for a mini-version of herself, this features irrepressible newcomer Chloe, who bangs on the piano while her big sister is trying to play it, eats the crayons her big sister loves to draw with, shreds picture books and generally wreaks havoc. Unlike other classic takes on the subject such as Kevin Henkes' Julius, the Baby of the World (1991), the older sister's change of heart isn't catalyzed by an outsider's criticism of the new baby. Rather, she comes to it herself, discovering that Chloe can in fact participate in her own way: by dancing (and burning off that excess toddler energy, familiar to all parents) while big sis plays piano. The illustrations, digitally rendered and finished with ink and watercolor, have a painterly look, with textures, visible brush strokes and vivid colors. The girls are portrayed in stylized fashion, with outsize expressive eyes (deep brown on one, bright green on the other) and ’60s-style hairdos (a smart bob on big sis, a high ponytail on Chloe).

While the story isn't new, this fresh-looking take on it will be appreciated in families welcoming a new addition to the household. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8118-7865-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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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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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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