Multiples and singletons alike will appreciate Anny’s and Allie’s nuanced identities.

ANNY AND ALLIE

Problem-solving, twins style.

The illustrator of the Rotten Ralph series, the author of Twice as Nice: What It’s Like to Be a Twin (2004), and an identical twin herself, Rubel combines these facets of her creative and personal lives in this picture book that spotlights a common identical-twin dilemma: when people can’t tell you apart. In an anthropomorphized animal world, Anny and Allie are identical-twin alligator sisters. At school, Allie mischievously ruins Anny’s painting, and their teacher, Mr. Bear, mistakenly reprimands the wrong twin. That night, their mom mistakenly reminds the wrong twin to brush her teeth. Frustrated, the girls brainstorm creative ways to make themselves distinguishable to others. They try individualized hair bows (they have no visible hair), different shoes, and nametags, but gentle amusement ensues when the hair bows flop, rain forces them to wear the same galoshes, and their nametags fall off at recess. They find the solution when Mr. Bear sets out alphabet beads that can be turned into name necklaces. In the bright and energetic digital illustrations, the book celebrates Anny’s and Allie’s individuality as Anny, under her pink, heart-shaped quilt, dreams of being a rock star, and Allie, in her pea-green sleeping bag, dreams of flying to Mars. But when their classmates finally notice their differences, the twins also relish the parts they have in common.

Multiples and singletons alike will appreciate Anny’s and Allie’s nuanced identities. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64279-096-2

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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