An active beach day without the usual rhythm and sparkle of the waves.

TODAY IS A BEACH DAY!

It’s a perfect beach day for four kids on an outing.

The sky and ocean are the bluest of blues, and the sand is golden. Following application of sunscreen, the children play in the waves, float on inflated beach toys, and search for “pebbles, seaweed. / Shells to grab” before scooping up a crab. They lick ice cream treats and build an elaborate sand castle complete with moats and boats before taking a rest and exchanging smiles. All is harmonious, and even the toppling of a scoop of ice cream has a happy ending when one child generously shares theirs with the other whose treat is in the sand. Each spread contains one or two lines of a rhyming couplet, often with alliteration, sounds, and action words (“Floating left and bobbing right— / SPLISH! SPLASH! JUMP! Hold on tight!”), but inconsistencies in stress pattern and number of syllables per line make reading aloud awkward. Two adults, a black woman and a white man, chaperone the children, but their relationship to the multiracial group of children and to each other is unclear; they could be as easily interpreted as a nuclear family or a group of friends and neighbors. Most of the cartoon-style illustrations show the children facing readers, with the children’s eyes cut sharply to the left or right, awkwardly indicating interaction among the children.

An active beach day without the usual rhythm and sparkle of the waves. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-9396-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

ONE FAMILY

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more