A tried-and-true strategy, though the fright fades with unrealistic speed in this iteration.

WHEN LIONS ROAR

What to do when sudden or loud noises bring “the scary.”

Here, Harris works the same theme as Ed Emberley’s classic Go Away Big Green Monster (1993) but in a less abstract way. She catalogs upsetting sounds—from “When thunder booms! / When sirens blare!” to “When daddies yell! / When mommies holler!”—then suggests a remedy: shutting one’s eyes and ordering “Scary! Go away” until “the quiet is back” and the world again becomes a sunny, peaceful place. The big, short lines of text are printed in various colors; Raschka uses the same palette to depict, with his typically free-looking brushwork, an anxious child of indeterminate sex suspended, with minimal background figures and details, on broad white pages. Except perhaps for a dog’s bark, none of the noises are directly aimed at the child narrator. The level of “scary” is further reduced by showing Mommy hollering at a parking meter (or someone beyond it) and Daddy at something off the edge of the page rather than at each other.

A tried-and-true strategy, though the fright fades with unrealistic speed in this iteration. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-11283-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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