A sweet suburban/rural contrast to the snowy day enjoyed by Peter in the city.

FIRST SNOW

A brother and sister venture outside on a snowy day for some playtime with the neighborhood children.

“Perky faces. / Scrambling feet. // Snowflakes falling! / What a treat!” With nary an adult to be seen, the relationship between the older brother and his little sister takes on a nurturing feel as he helps her with her mittens and, once back inside, shares hot chocolate and a book. Outside, though, the group of neighborhood kids intermixes in their various activities. The boys and girls have a snowball fight, make snow angels, play in an igloo, and sled. They are a diverse bunch: three white children, a child with East Asian features, a child with beige skin, the brown-skinned sibling pair, and their brown-and-white floppy-eared hound. Short sentences and spot-on rhythms give the outdoor adventure a bouncy excitement; toward the end, these same characteristics combine with somnolent words and phrases to calm readers in readiness for sleep: “Creamy chocolate—warm, not cold. // Peaceful twilight. Stories told.” Shipman’s illustrations feature the children’s bright snow gear against a light blue and white snowy backdrop, the outdoor scenes wonderfully speckled with the still-falling snow.

A sweet suburban/rural contrast to the snowy day enjoyed by Peter in the city. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8075-2440-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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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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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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