ONLY YOU

This parent-child love poem reaches out and cuddles its dual audience close. The simple verse celebrates the small, everyday ways small children endear themselves to their parents: “When the sky glows / peachy-rose at dawn . . . / I love the way / you stretch and yawn,” and so on through one idyllic day, visiting in turn an Asian-American mother and baby at daybreak, an African-American father and toddler in the middle of the day and a European-American mother and preschooler at bedtime. Cruise’s text is unapologetically doting, the truth behind every statement manifest in each rhyme and carrying the whole beyond cliché. Chodos-Irvine’s now-trademark prints are the wholly perfect accompaniment, their soft pastels and rounded lines underscoring the genuine warmth of the sentiment. Her understanding of the exuberant movements of baby- and toddler-hood is unparalleled, each cock of the head and bend of the arm just right. What child doesn’t need the unqualified love of the parent, and what parent doesn’t need to be reminded of this? As a statement of childhood’s most unalienable right, it doesn’t come any clearer. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-15-216604-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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LOLA LOVES STORIES

From the Lola & Leo series

Lola’s daddy takes her to the library every Saturday, where she finds “excellent books,” and every night her mommy or daddy reads them to her. The next day Lola acts out the story. On Sunday she’s a fairy princess; on Monday she takes her toy animals “on fantastic trips to places like Paris”; on Wednesday she’s a tiger, etc. Each new book and day provides Lola with a variety of tales to play out, with the last one—which is about a wild monster—posing the question, “What will Lola be tomorrow?” The final page shows her in a wolf suit just like Max’s. The library books, the pretending and the incorporation of the days of the week work together as a simple and pleasing premise. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations depict the multicultural kids and Lola’s black family with childlike charm, while the title will have librarians, parents and booksellers smiling. Alert: The book will be an invitation for lap kids to follow Lola’s lead—not such a bad thing. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58089-258-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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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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