THE PIE IS CHERRY

Rex (My Race Car, 2000, etc.) uses the simple sentence structure of the title to describe a full day in the kitchen with three redheaded siblings and their dog. (“The dog is awake.”) Many of these simple, four-word sentences describe the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the food as it is being prepared throughout the day. (“The bacon is sizzling. The egg is fried.”) Other sentences describe the kitchen appliances or equipment. (“The garbage is smelly.”) The descriptive final word of the sentence falls into a wide range of categories: colors, textures, shapes, sizes, and tastes. (“The sugar is sweet.”) Many pages are divided into several related panels with one sentence and an illustration for each item, with a few larger illustrations and full-page spreads to vary the illustration mix. The redheaded sisters and brother and their dog are cheery, cartoon-style kids, and there are lots of colorful details and backgrounds in the well-stocked kitchen. The progression of 32 pages of simple sentences with the same pattern is a trifle bland, but this repetitive and predictable structure will be useful in kindergarten and first-grade classes, where children begin writing sentences following basic patterns such as this one. The concept is useful. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6717-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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MISS BINDERGARTEN GETS READY FOR KINDERGARTEN

An inviting look at the first day of school in Miss Bindergarten's class. The simple rhyming text tells how the animal children get ready for the big event; as a bonus, the names of the students are listed alphabetically, each first letter corresponding to its animal type (Jessie is a jaguar, Zak is a zebra, etc.): ``Gwen McGunny/packs her bunny./Henry Fetter/fights his sweater.'' The procession is interspersed with the preparations of Miss Bindergarten, aided by her pet cockatoo, in her classroom. Wolff's fine illustrations add texture to a fairly simple concept. The teacher is depicted as an efficient sheepdog; eager and organized, she tapes notes on her furniture reminding her to ``have fun,'' yet forgets to take the price tag off her dress. The use of extinct animals for the more obscure letters only adds to the fun. In this soothing introduction to an anxiety-filled event, Slate (Who Is Coming to Our House?, 1988, etc.) makes the first day a pleasure for everyone involved. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-525-45446-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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