PIRATE JACK GETS DRESSED

Yer pirate-lovin’ tender-aged readers will give Pirate Jack a thumbs-up, but they won’t find many surprises, and disability...

A bold, black-bearded pirate gets dressed for the day, describing each item of his pirate garb by color in rollicking, rhyming text.

Jack the pirate awakens at 6 sharp wearing his gray long johns, which serve as both pajamas and the first layer of his costume. He adds a black eye patch (though he appears to have two intact eyeballs), gold earrings, a silver prosthetic hook on one hand, and clothes of many colors on following pages. His outfit includes a brown boot on one leg and a wooden peg on the other. Pirate Jack, who has golden-tan skin, meets his racially diverse “motley crew,” which includes two women pirates. One of the women has a peg leg and the other has a prosthetic hook. As with most children’s books with a pirate theme, these piratical tropes disregard concerns about disability awareness and sensitivity. The rhyming text is spunky and humorous, filled with familiar pirate lingo such as “matey,” “aye, aye,” and “me” and “ye” for “my” and “you.” Computer-generated illustrations use bright, saturated colors and an oversized landscape format with double-page spreads that provide lots of room for amusing details in Jack’s well-furnished stateroom aboard ship. A tiny mouse character with a teeny-tiny eye patch is hidden somewhere within each spread.

Yer pirate-lovin’ tender-aged readers will give Pirate Jack a thumbs-up, but they won’t find many surprises, and disability advocates will find the same old, same old. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7664-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

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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