A flawed yet pleasant and accessible tale of friendship.

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FLASH THE FISH

A tale of a fish and a whale, originally published in 1990 in Israel.

When a small silver fish meets a large black whale, one might assume that trouble would ensue, but that is hardly the case in this foil-decorated tale of friendship and helpfulness. Once Flash, a minnow fashioned from silver foil, bravely ascertains that what he initially mistakes for a mountain is actually a young and tearful lost baleen whale, he vows to find the whale’s parents, which results in an undersea adventure and builds a bond that will clearly last into the future. While in real life, Flash makes an unlikely playmate, in this ocean fantasy, he proves that size doesn’t count in matters of friendship. Dispatching his numerous, equally shiny relations to search for the whale’s parents while he keeps the lost calf company, he brings about a joyous reunion, finds a new pal, and has a very enjoyable day as well. The text is, for the most part, clear and straightforward, but Flash rather unfortunately opines that crying is babyish, and in terms of plot, his decision to send his family and friends out to save the day rather than helping the young whale find her parents herself feels unsatisfying. The foil may strike U.S. readers as no great shakes—it inevitably calls Rainbow Fish and its successors to mind—and overall, the story and moral are on the slight side. Still, young listeners will likely enjoy the sparkly silver and the mild suspense and identify with the excitement of making a new friend.

A flawed yet pleasant and accessible tale of friendship. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-735-22746-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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