A nifty caper showcasing teamwork, letter recognition, and word formation.

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C JUMPED OVER THREE POTS AND A PAN AND LANDED SMACK IN THE GARBAGE CAN

This is a camp crisis and “an alphabet mystery,” but it’s not a typical alphabet book.

When B jumps over a mixing bowl, C knows he can jump farther. But after leaping “over three pots and a pan,” he lands “smack in the garbage can” and can’t get out. D sounds the alarm, and anthropomorphic alphabet characters team up to keep C from being “dumped in the garbage truck.” E (who has three arms) could certainly help, but E is missing, so H and I begin a search. M, “a crackerjack sleuth” with a deerstalker hat and magnifying glass, soon discovers “O, P, and R / have disappeared, too.” U, dressed in a superhero cape, soon cracks the case. “O, P, R, and E / are off making a word”—that turns out to be “just the thing we need for C.” In the end, “a ROPE, some friends, and a fabulous plan / all [rescue] C from the garbage can.” Spot-on rhyme and meter create a fast-moving mystery in which the alphabetical sequence becomes the basis of a charming chain of events leading to C’s rescue. Brightly colored and easily recognizable letters, adorned with facial features and a well-chosen accessory or two, stand out against uncluttered backgrounds of humorous scenes and activities. The setting is a bit uncertain, as the kitchen where C performs his stunt looks more like a suburban home’s than a camp’s, suggesting a day camp, but other scenes imply a sleep-away camp.

A nifty caper showcasing teamwork, letter recognition, and word formation. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7643-5795-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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