Plot holes make this one hard to digest.

SUPER SPAGHETTI

Fred absolutely adores almost everything about spaghetti. The only thing he doesn’t like is how long it takes to cook.

Luckily, Fred’s mother is an inventor, and when he asks her to create a machine to cook spaghetti faster, she invents the Spaghetti-Tronic Electro-Spaghetti Zapper, which takes 10 seconds to turn anything into spaghetti. One day, after eating so much spaghetti that he can barely move, Fred forgets to turn off the machine. When he realizes his mistake, he gets sucked into the Zapper and turned into spaghetti himself. The spaghetti seems to give him superpowers, and before long, a crowd is chasing him through the streets, calling him a superhero. At first Fred is frightened, but when disaster strikes, he realizes he can use “pasta power” to save the day. The book’s illustrations are vibrant and colorful, and the clever textual design creates an appropriately comicslike feel. Unfortunately, the plot meanders and is difficult to follow. It is unclear whether or not Fred is actually turned into spaghetti (it just looks like he’s covered in the stuff) or what his superpowers are. Although the ending is humorous and sweet and the mother character is particularly quirky and fun, overall, the disjointed narrative makes the book difficult to follow. Both Fred and his mom have brown skin. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Plot holes make this one hard to digest. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-25687-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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 visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

ONE FAMILY

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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