A brief introduction to good twin kitties and a rascally mouse.

KIT & KABOODLE

Kit and Kaboodle are the stars of Wells’ newest series, kitty twins who never make any trouble—but a little mouse named Spinka creates all kinds of mischief for them.

Wearing a jaunty red cap, wee Spinka is the villain of this “not me!” story. In three short vignettes, the little mouse creates just a teaspoon of trouble in each. Mama and Daddy immediately blame the twins for each misadventure, while the kitties profess their innocence. Neither adults nor children ever notice the sneaky squeaker, who gleefully relishes her devious behavior. With signature Wells’ colors and animal sweetness, the illustrations will have young listeners searching out the impish mouse. The trouble is tiny indeed, as the extent of it is only a slightly stern parent blaming the children for using too much bubble bath or eating one of the chocolate blimpies. Discussions can focus on how Spinka feels left out when she doesn’t receive a gift or isn’t invited to play baseball. Will Spinka ever be caught? Or is Spinka just an imaginary pot-stirrer? Further ambiguity is introduced when Kit, who wears a dress and pink shoes while Kaboodle sports shorts, is referred to with the same masculine pronoun as their twin. Is it a typo or an exploration of gender ambiguity? Readers will need to wait till the next installment to find out.

A brief introduction to good twin kitties and a rascally mouse. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-13075-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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