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BE STILL, LIFE

What sets this book apart from so many others with the same theme of the nourishment derived from connecting with life is...

In casual rhyme, this picture book extols the values of stillness and observation.

Speaking directly to readers, author/illustrator Hale delivers a passionate, can-you-believe-how-good-it-is-to-be-alive homage to living. Focusing on the natural world, she describes the possibilities of what can be experienced with the senses when readers become still: seeing the shadow of “a small snail snoozing” growing long as time passes, feeling “the sun’s light,” hearing the “tapping of tiny mice feet,” and, whimsically, the song of fruit in a bowl: “you might hear the hum / of a crisp summer’s apple.” The narrative’s heartfelt exhortation to, and inclusion of, its readers (“you are also a part of the wonderfulness of life!”) saves it from the tired sanctimony that can bog down themes of this type. The rambunctiously designed illustrations of bugs, plants, fruit, snails, and other aspects of the natural world are done in simple, warm, unshaded colors and black crayonlike outlines that echo and support the narrative’s ingenuousness, as does the hand-lettered text. It doesn’t take itself too seriously—some segments are endearingly silly, especially the asides of some of the critters voicing their opinions.

What sets this book apart from so many others with the same theme of the nourishment derived from connecting with life is its infectious joy, delivered simply and sincerely. (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59270-257-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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LITTLE DAYMOND LEARNS TO EARN

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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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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