We don't know everything about Betty Bunny yet, and her new BFF, the bunny doll she names Little Betty, might turn out to be...

BETTY BUNNY WANTS EVERYTHING

From the Betty Bunny series

That boisterous Betty Bunny is back, and she's just as much of a handful as she was in her initial outing (Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake, 2011). This time Betty's focused on choosing a toy at the store, but with so many choices, what's a bunny to do?

Betty and her siblings are told that they can each select just one toy, and Betty at first chooses a little bunny doll. Then she quickly fills up an entire shopping cart with a towering stack of hilariously named toys, such as a Captain Gizmo Detective Kit. Her spree leads to a meltdown and a tearful trip home sans toy, but her understanding parents and siblings work with Betty to help her make an appropriate choice with her money on a return trip to the store. Kaplan's perfectly paced text captures a young child's intense emotions and limited reasoning, and the patient parents and slightly snide older brothers are real characters, as is the irrepressible Betty. Charming, large-scale illustrations in watercolor and ink are filled with details of toys and clothing, with understated colors and white backgrounds creating a fresh, contemporary air.

We don't know everything about Betty Bunny yet, and her new BFF, the bunny doll she names Little Betty, might turn out to be a handful, too. More, please. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3408-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

Our Verdict

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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