“Hooray! Hooray!” (Picture book. 2-5)

READ REVIEW

RESCUE SQUAD NO. 9

From the No. 9 series

Following Fire Engine No. 9 (2015), Austin looks at maritime emergency vehicles.

In Austin’ s second No. 9 book, the youngest readers find a gripping, exciting ocean rescue conducted by a mixed-race, mixed-gender team using intriguing vehicles and tools: helicopter and boat, with assists from the lighthouse and trucks on the dock. The crew seems to be going through its ordinary duties when the weather changes and a distress call comes in. The text is minimal: words repeat and appear in typeface that increases in size to convey urgency: “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY! // GO! GO! GO!” Bold, graphically splashy artwork captures the stormy, swelling sea and the rescue in motion. A sailboat has crashed against rocks with a sailor and dog onboard. Dramatic tension is heightened when horizontal scenes switch to vertical when the helicopter drops the Billy Pugh basket to pick up the stranded boaters. Never heard that term before? Don’t worry: endpapers feature the pieces of equipment and their names. All’s well that ends well. The squad gets the duo safely to shore as the sun comes out. An endnote includes tips for caregivers on water safety, and readers already savvy about the subject will be pleased to see that both the sailor and the dog are wearing life jackets.

“Hooray! Hooray!” (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93662-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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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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