High marks for concept, art, design, and sheer visual energy.

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SEASONS

From the Turn Seek Find series

In a seasonal round, crowds of bright flora and fauna ingeniously constructed from geometric forms pose playful challenges in shape and color recognition.

Two sturdy, toothed wheels turning under die-cut windows on either the right or the left of each big spread are the engines that drive this entry in the Turn Seek Find series. They invite viewers to choose one of four grayscale figures—a robin (this is a French import), a fir tree, a squirrel, or a snowflake in “Winter,” for instance—and one of four colors and then to spot the selection amid a seasonally themed riot of stylized shapes and saturated hues. Along with using evocative color schemes for the four seasons, Giordano fits his semi-abstract figures and their compositions together in such harmonious ways that the seek-and-find game may well take a back seat to the simple pleasures of just poring over each scene, letting lines and transitions guide exploratory eyes to fresh discoveries, seeing the plants and animals (there are many more than the quartet offered on each wheel), and basking in the golden glow of “ Fall” or shivering deliciously in the chilly blues of “Winter.” Still, the game is absorbing too, and it’s capped at the end with elements of the previous pictures recast in a joyous whirl of “All Year Round,” with apples, flies, clover, and frogs to spot. “Hooray, you found them! Now turn the wheels to play again!” The invitation will find no lack of takers.

High marks for concept, art, design, and sheer visual energy. (Novelty board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-789-8

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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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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