SLEEPOVER WITH BEATRICE AND BEAR

In a gentle tale for the very young, a rabbit named Beatrice finds an ingenious way to share winter with her hibernating best friend, Bear.

The first sentence, appearing over a winsome bear sitting in a carrot patch, announces, “Beatrice and Bear met on a clear spring day.” Little readers will squeal with delight when they comprehend the next page, which says, with great understatement, “They did not get off to a good start.” Bear looks down at an irate rabbit vainly trying to shift Bear’s large bottom off the squashed carrot plants. But the relationship improves. The story of their blossoming friendship continues, with sweet-faced Beatrice and Bear engaging in all sorts of human activities throughout spring, summer and fall. Beatrice’s naïveté will evoke chuckles when, after a friendly squirrel kindly explains that “hibernation” is not a place, Beatrice jumps to the conclusion that it’s a sleepover and rushes to “hibernate” with Bear. Very funny pictures, including one of Beatrice wearing a sleep mask, illustrate her inability to join Bear’s deep sleep. The squirrel again comes to Beatrice’s aid, helping her arrive at a “brilliant idea” (begging the question of why the squirrel cannot be a third, named friend). The illustrations are simple cartoons with watercolor washes, and they skillfully convey both the many anthropomorphic touches, such as Beatrice’s carrot-decorated blanket, and a subtle range of emotions on the best friends’ faces.

Winningly sweet. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25667-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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