A lovely, cousinly twist on the new-baby story

Loretta is excited to find the perfect gift for her new baby cousin.

Loretta’s aunt Esme and uncle Jax are expecting a new baby. Loretta’s mom knits a furry hat, her dad buys a pile of diapers, Uncle Jax builds a cradle, and Aunt Esme fills the nursery with family photos. As the gifts pile up, Loretta realizes she doesn’t have anything to give to the new baby. Even as she frets, Loretta actively takes part in loving and caring for Gabe, till on his first birthday, Aunt Esme assures Loretta that she is the best gift Gabe has ever gotten. Loretta comes to acknowledge that Aunt Esme is right—and that Gabe can never outgrow her love. This warm and affectionate tale will engage readers. Marley’s artwork is whimsically earthy, featuring muted greens and rich browns and weaving in leaves, flowers, and touches of nature as accents. She depicts Loretta, her parents, and Aunt Esme with brown skin and Afro-textured black hair; Uncle Jax has pale skin and straight, brown hair. The important message that quality time is as valuable as gifts bought in a store is familiar and always appreciated. Lovers of Family, by Isabell Monk and illustrated by Janice Lee Porter (2001), and Home in the Rain, by Bob Graham (2017), will enjoy this adorable story featuring a multicultural family.

A lovely, cousinly twist on the new-baby story . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0681-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018



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


A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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