A book whose theme of opposite personalities being best friends is a welcome, uplifting one but whose illustrations lack...


An elephant and a mouse are best friends even though they have different tastes in just about everything.

Big, an elephant, and Little, a mouse, enjoy a close friendship that includes spending lots of time together, even though they have opposite tastes. Garland’s accessibly simple, rhyming text (set in a somewhat clunky typeface) spells it out in a no-nonsense back-and-forth style: “Big likes up, Little likes down. / Little likes square, Big likes round.” The litany encompasses a truly vast number of points on which Big and Little differ. By the end of the story, Garland reveals that Big and Little, being so different, occasionally have fights, but they always make up because they realize that they “are who they are. No need for a change!” And this message of acceptance of differences is heartening and much needed. Garland’s digitally rendered illustrations, while colorful and lively, are visually discordant. Soft blending within the mouse and the elephant figures is juxtaposed against their sharp outline edges—a visually jarring look. Impressionistic backgrounds and foregrounds, too, are interspersed with sharp-edged objects as well as photorealistic ones. The overall impression is one of too many digital effects that don’t harmonize well.

A book whose theme of opposite personalities being best friends is a welcome, uplifting one but whose illustrations lack visual coherence. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-87097-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A sweet, poetic ode to autumn.


A rhyming celebration of imagination.

A child with brown skin offers gentle, artful ideas about what to do with autumn leaves. The picture book's idyllic setting seems Northeastern in nature, with deciduous trees shedding leaves, which the child scoops up. Could a leaf from a tree become a hat, a Halloween mask, a hammock, or something else entirely? "It could be a horn that blows, announcing that we're here. // A leafy parade to celebrate our favorite time of year." Rhyme rules the text but isn't forced in the least. Collaged leaves against painted illustrations encourage play and imagination. A nod to winter and spring make this a year-round read. Endpapers with realistic labeled images of leaves provide an injection of information in this otherwise dreamy musing. The backmatter includes instructions on collaging—a meaningful and fun activity that builds upon the text. While there's nothing groundbreaking here, there is opportunity for both learning and whimsy. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet, poetic ode to autumn. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30659-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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