Warmth and comfort abound.

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ROOM FOR THE BABY

Everyone is thrilled that there’s going to be a new baby, but where will the child sleep?

Mom’s sewing room would be perfect, but it is full to the brim with worn-out clothes, leftover yarn and boxes of odds and ends donated by neighbors who know Mom is a master at recycling and repurposing. As months pass, filled with weekly Sabbath celebrations and Jewish holiday traditions, Mom and all the neighbors are busy, happily sewing, knitting and crafting, making diapers, baby clothes and mittens for anyone who expresses a need. The whole family gets into the act; Dad makes a crib from a steamer trunk, and the young narrator organizes a giveaway of free stuff. The sewing room is gradually transformed into a beautiful room for the baby, who receives a joyous welcome. Edwards moves the events through the year, introducing a warm, loving, traditional Jewish family and a close-knit multicultural city community. Information about Jewish holidays, especially the food, is neatly and deliciously incorporated. Underlying themes focus on the processes and satisfaction of creative arts and crafts as well as the green concept of reusing found items for new purposes. Christy’s bright illustrations, as well as the endpapers, are filled with amusing details, patterns and textures, along with a sense of movement and busy endeavor.

Warmth and comfort abound. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-87090-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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