Simple words and accessible, engaging illustrations combine to offer a surprisingly nuanced story.

READ REVIEW

TREASURE

A child and a crow both collect shiny objects but find a way to share in this picture book that doubles as an early reader.

The story begins with a single word, “child,” in a large easy-to-read, sans-serif type. Its accompanying illustration shows a black-haired, beige-skinned figure gazing at several trinkets the child has placed on a stone wall outdoors. The story continues with soft, full-color illustrations, each accompanied by a single word. The overall effect is one of friendliness and encouragement as well as illustrative engagement, as readers will no doubt peruse the illustrations seeking out the host of treasured objects—buttons, sea glass, coins, a thimble—they contain. A crow enters the storyline, and the crow also collects shiny objects. When it takes a treasured button from the stone wall, the child is forlorn. That night a storm dislodges the crow’s nest, and the crow’s shiny collection tumbles to the ground. The crow finds and returns the child’s treasured button, and the grateful child offers a trinket to the crow, who takes it—and leaves a feather in return. Author/illustrator Dwyer exhibits remarkable skill in creating this story of friendship and sharing, with its minimal text and well-designed illustrations. Early readers will hone their skills, while the accessible, uncluttered illustrations invite them to use their imaginations to make the story their own.

Simple words and accessible, engaging illustrations combine to offer a surprisingly nuanced story. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-51326-195-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: WestWinds Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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