While preschoolers dip in and out for fun, older kids could use these inventively expanded color definitions as inspiration...

POMELO EXPLORES COLOR

An unusual look at colors provides something for preschoolers and something more for older kids.

Pomelo, a tiny elephant, initially appears integrated into a black-and-white checkerboard, his body black where the squares are white and vice versa. Wanting more, he becomes pink and “rediscovers” color in his garden environment. One sentence carries the text through 120 pages in this small, square volume, but that sentence never stretches thin. Each spread showcases an example of a single hue. Badescu places all the whites in a row, then the yellows, then the oranges, creating a calm neatness that holds things steady while the color examples bounce between conventional and complex. From familiar (“the glowing yellow of fireflies”) to surprising (“the happy gray of rain”), from abstract (“the gray of things you can’t quite remember”) to concrete (“the green-gray of rot”), the sensibility’s always whimsical. A subtle philosophical arc charts how “the promising red of ripening strawberries” becomes “the mysterious blue of dreams”—Pomelo dreams, in blue, of future strawberries—and then “the deflating gray of disappointment” as the fruit, crushingly, turns gray on the plant. Chaud’s art is sweet, offbeat and eye-catching, even when oranges and carrots are darker than real life.

While preschoolers dip in and out for fun, older kids could use these inventively expanded color definitions as inspiration in an art or English classroom. (Picture book. 3-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59270-126-1

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall.

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THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES

This book may not have pictures, but it’s sure to inspire lots of conversations—and laughs.

Television writer, actor and comedian Novak delivers a rare find, indeed: a very good celebrity picture book. It doesn’t even seem fair to call it such, since it has nothing to do with his Emmy Award–winning writing for The Office or the fame his broader career has afforded him. The jacket flap even eschews a glossy photo, instead saying “B.J. has brown hair and blue eyes,” in order to keep with the book’s central conceit. What this book does have is text, and it’s presented through artful typography that visually conveys its changing tone to guide oral readings. Furthermore, the text implies (or rather, demands) a shared reading transaction, in which an adult is compelled to read the text aloud, no matter how “COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS” it is. Employing direct address, it pleads with the implied child listener to allow him or her to stop reading. Nonsense words, silly words to be sung and even a smattering of potty talk for good measure all coalesce in riotous read-aloud fare. Although the closing pages beg the implied child reader to “please please please please / please / choose a book with pictures” for subsequent reading, it’s likely that this request will be ignored.

A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall. (. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4171-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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