A contemporary and festive Latino birthday celebration.

DALE, DALE, DALE / HIT IT, HIT IT, HIT IT

UNA FIESTA DE NÚMEROS / A FIESTA OF NUMBERS

Mateo’s birthday is full of excitement, family and many things to count in English and Spanish.

With minimal bilingual text, readers count along throughout Mateo’s birthday fiesta. As he waits for the party to begin, he helps prepare the decorations and takes a peek at the party favors that have been prepared for his guests. There are five lucha libre masks, six tops, seven bubble bottles and nine toy cars. When his 11 cousins arrive to celebrate, there is music and birthday cake. But best of all, there is the birthday piñata that Mateo will strike open as together they sing a traditional song, “Dale, dale, dale.” The lyrics to the piñata-breaking song are included in both English and Spanish, but the lack of any note or information about it is a missed opportunity. However, the exuberant energy of the book as a whole makes up for this oversight. The full-spread illustrations capture Mateo’s enthusiasm and the work his family has put into preparing such a lively party. While many of the illustrations are photorealistic, others are more playful, such as the images of Mateo striking his best lucha libre poses or an image of all of the children at the party displayed on the screen of a digital camera.

A contemporary and festive Latino birthday celebration. (Bilingual picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55885-782-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arte Público

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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 cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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