ROC AND ROE'S TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Celebrity children decorate a Christmas tree over the course of 12 days.

“On the first day of Christmas, / Roc and Roe put on their Christmas tree / an angel with sparkly, shiny wings.” From that inauspicious start, America’s Got Talent host Cannon sets the children to decorating the tree, one day at a time, with such trinkets as singing Santas, balloons with bows, festive fairies and chugging choo-choos. As the twins decorate, their two Jack Russell terriers cavort—probably the inspiration for the tree’s “nine jumping Jacks.” The children are modeled on Cannon and Mariah Carey’s twins, Moroccan and Monroe (seen in a family photo on the front endpapers). There is no getting around the stumbling rhythms and occasionally obscure, presumably scansion-forced vocabulary; in addition to those jumping Jacks, the kids hang “three ‘pip’ photos,” a reference that may send readers unfamiliar with this Carey-ism to Google to parse (a note on the jacket flap is utterly opaque). Ford does his best to make it work. Amusingly, the two children pack the bottom boughs full, not attempting the higher ones till Day 11, when Roc teeters dangerously on, presumably, a windowsill to hang some teddy bears. Probably the book’s greatest contribution is the prominent placement of a dark-skinned angel on Day 1; this acts as a focal point for all that follows.

For fans only . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-51950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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