A classy, well-turned piece of work.




American English, as a language, has much to answer for, not least being irregular plural nouns—foot, feet; mouse, mice; goose, geese—but this cut-above counting book explicates them by wedding the numbers two to ten to plurals while the number one introduces the singular of each.

It is a clever conception—akin to the work of Laura Vaccaro Seeger—and executed with an elegant design. A die-cut window displays one of the group that will be discovered on the subsequent page: one snowman, five snowmen; one die, six dice; one ox, seven oxen. In each group illustration, the appropriate numeral is worked into the art (a coal-button 5 on the front of one of the snowmen; an 8-ball tattoo on one of the octopi). The illustrations are as deceptively simple as Thomas the Tank Engine and as elemental in their engagement. Maloney and Zekauskas add little touches—a small plane scooting by on each page, amusing asides within the artwork, a cumulative gathering of what went before on the verso of the die-cut page that serve as a reminder of the progression of numbers—to further beguile young readers.

A classy, well-turned piece of work. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25446-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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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 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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While the puzzle gimmick may hold youngsters' interest for a few readings, it is unlikely to have a long shelf life.



Another overdesigned board book, with puzzle pieces this time, from PANTONE, the company that creates the widely used color matching system.

Each double-page spread focuses on one color of the rainbow. The left-hand side is a full-page, graphically minded scene using a variety of hues of the color in question. On the facing pages, the PANTONE chips make their appearance, four shades occupying the four quadrants of the page separated by a bold white line in typical PANTONE fashion. Both sides of each page spread carry four shaped indentations to hold abstract puzzle shapes made of paperboard. Featuring machines that go on the left, the red spread has pieces that become the door and siren on a fire truck. These same pieces fit into slots labeled “Stop Sign Red / PANTONE 485” and “Brick Red / PANTONE 7627” on the right. While the cartoon tableaux are droll, the use of PANTONE numbers will make little sense to youngsters. The puzzle pieces themselves are relatively easy to get in and out once loosened, but, after a few readings, they will likely flake at the edges if they are not lost altogether. The small pieces force this message on the back cover: “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD—Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.”

While the puzzle gimmick may hold youngsters' interest for a few readings, it is unlikely to have a long shelf life. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0939-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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