Simple, sweet, and entertaining.

NANCY'S GENIUS PLAN

Aunt Fritzi has made cornbread, and Nancy has a genius plan to have it all for herself—or perhaps not?

Classic cartoon character Nancy has been given new life under Jaimes (a pseudonym for the cartoonist), but keeping true to her original characterization, Nancy remains immature and impulsive. In this story—told in full-bleed, single-page format rather than the traditional paneled comic-strip format—Aunt Fritzi has “made cornbread for everybody to share.” Nancy has other plans. She wants it all for herself and enlists readers’ help to carry out her “genius plan.” First, they must knock on the window to distract Aunt Fritzi; turn the page slowly so as not to wake up the dog; and finally turn the book upside down so Nancy can sneak past her friends. Mission accomplished. The cornbread, all “delicious” and “crumbly,” is hers. Yet it feels lonely, so readers are now asked to “shake this book up and down a couple of times.” When everyone comes “to see what all the ruckus is” about, they can all sit down to enjoy the cornbread together. The book ends in true Nancy style with the punchline “Just like I planned all along.” Nancy, Aunt Fritzi, and Sluggo are white, and her other three friends are kids of color.

Simple, sweet, and entertaining. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5248-5180-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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Like marshmallow on top of caramel.

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN CHRISTMAS

Little Bear loves everything about Christmas, but there’s one thing he loves even more.

The Bear household is busily getting ready for Christmas. Mommy Bear wraps and bakes; Daddy Bear brings home a humongous tree; Little Bear exults in it all. With each new Christmas tradition that’s introduced, from opening Christmas cards to receiving carolers, Little Bear sings a song that celebrates it. “I love ornaments, and garland, and lights on a string, / candy canes, stockings—and all of the things / that make Christmas perfect—oh, yes, I do! / But the thing that I love more than Christmas is—” But before Little Bear can complete his rhyme, each time he is interrupted by a new element of Christmas to celebrate. Since that terminal rhyme is always set up with one that ends with an “oo” sound, readers will not be surprised in the least when Mommy and Daddy interrupt him one last time with an emphatic “YOU!” It’s all so uber-idealized readers may find themselves gagging on the syrup—it even seems to get at Hattie: Daddy Bear’s smug “What an exceedingly talented family we are” has a whiff of irony to it. Warnes’ cartoon bears inhabit a cozy, middle-class home; while the carolers are clothed, the Bear family is not, but readers may notice a white marking on Mommy Bear’s chest where a string of pearls might rest.

Like marshmallow on top of caramel. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-208-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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