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This one’s for the parents. Enjoy.

The Blur is a whirlwind force from the moment the infant arrives home until the day the child drives off to college.

Simultaneously a spoof on the superhero genre and a tribute to parenthood, Lê's text reads like a voice-over narrator describing the origin story of a new hero: the Blur! Beginning as an infant, the baby immediately displays hilarious superpowers, such as “the supersonic voice” (the little one’s loud wails) and “fantastically elastic limbs” (middle-of-the-night bed sharing). Santat’s comical depiction of this exhausted and shellshocked Asian family is sure to elicit knowing smiles from parents as the child learns to walk and becomes the Blur, racing “headfirst toward danger” and leaving “no corner unexplored.” Spreads depicting the trouble the child gets into, as well as a myriad of idyllic scenes of childhood, show time zipping along as the Blur morphs into a teen. Before you know it, the parents are celebrating their child in cap and gown, then saying goodbye as their confident young adult drives off to college. The tongue-in-cheek tone and energetic illustrations rendered in colored pencil, watercolor, and Photoshop propel the reader through an entire childhood in a nostalgic blur, and every parent will relate to the feeling of loving, holding on, and then letting go of this time that passes so quickly. Young readers will appreciate the superhero jokes but may not connect with the overall theme of the book, and that’s OK. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This one’s for the parents. Enjoy. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37746-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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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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