This bedtime book is good for some laughs—even though it feels a bit tired.

HOW TO PUT YOUR PARENTS TO BED

Role reversal finds a little girl trying to put her parents to bed.

Direct address aligns child readers with the “you” in the text—a spirited little blonde, white girl who resists her parents’ attempts to get her to go to bed. After several attempts fail, the text directs attention to beleaguered parents: “Poor things. Just between you and me, they are not looking their best. They need to go to BED.” Cole’s accompanying illustration shows a close-up of dazed, disheveled parents with bags under their eyes. Ensuing pages show the parents resisting bedtime due to adult preoccupations—household chores, cellphones, and so on—brought to humorous extremes through the art. The story unravels a bit when outright regression sets in, and the parents simply start to act as the girl did at the beginning of the book by resisting bedtime for resistance’s sake. They even demand bedtime stories. In a rather predictable turn of events, when they finally go to sleep, the little girl is tuckered out and falls asleep too. Although the story falters in these ways, Cole’s art is defined by its energetic line and humor, which help elevate the book as a whole.

This bedtime book is good for some laughs—even though it feels a bit tired. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-232064-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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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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Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents.

TO THE MOON AND BACK FOR YOU

A poetic ode to women who became mothers despite the challenges they faced.

Whether navigating the roughest seas, crossing the hottest deserts, or pushing through painful brambles, the mothers in this book know their long, hard journeys were worth the effort. There might have been failure and doubt, but now that it’s all over, they know they’d “do it all over again. For you.” First-person narration expresses in metaphor the extraordinary lengths some mothers will go to achieve their dream of holding a child in their arms. Sentimental and flowery, the text is broad enough to apply to the journeys of many mothers—even though the text is gender neutral, the illustrations clearly center the mother’s experience. At times another figure, often male-presenting, is shown alongside a mother. Soft, jewel-toned illustrations peppered with textures depict families with a variety of skin tones and hair colors/textures. The assortment of mothers shown demonstrates the universality of the message, but it also contributes to the absence of a strong visual throughline. In the concluding author’s note, Serhant shares her personal struggle to conceive her child, which included fertility treatments and IVF. Ultimately, although the sentiment is lovely, the message is too abstract to be understood by children and will be better received and appreciated by parents.

Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-17388-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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