Overall, the book is inappropriate for the typical board-book audience, and it lacks the dark wit found in more successful...

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BABY TO BIG

A vocabulary-building board book for children and adults.

On each spread of this board book, Fernandez (Baby to Brooklyn, 2017) juxtaposes illustrations of common infant vocabulary words with their adult counterparts. The word “crib,” for example, is represented both by a child peeking over the top of a crib and a large house with a trendy-looking family in the doorway, while “bottle” is both a baby bottle full of milk and a sweaty beer bottle. While the concept itself is clever and the colors are bold and appealing to young readers, it is unclear whether the book is aimed at children or their parents. Furthermore, many of the comparisons feel strained and out of place in a book that seems to want to be satiric. The word “bee,” for example, is not commonly found in such elementary vocabulary books, included more for the sake of the juxtaposition with Bey than any other reason. Other pages, such as the print of a woman’s rear end for the word “booty” (juxtaposed with “booties”) or a woman’s face for “babe” (“baby”), are in highly questionable taste. The illustrations lack imagination, at times resembling clip art.

Overall, the book is inappropriate for the typical board-book audience, and it lacks the dark wit found in more successful picture books aimed at adults. (Board book. Adults)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-57687-826-2

Page Count: 30

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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WONDER

After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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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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