From the Max & Ruby series

The winning illustrations and lighthearted storytelling that made Max and Ruby such a hit are on display; unfortunately, the...

When Max accidentally loses the Warthogs’ wedding ring, a treasure hunt ensues, with Ruby leading the way.

It’s the day of the wedding, and Ruby (as usual) is instructing Max. As she twirls in her flower girl dress, Max runs from his lavender sailor suit. After all, he’d much rather be feeding gummies to his pet, a chickenlike Gob Smacker. Finally ready, Max is entrusted with the wedding band, but the Gob Smacker he stashed in his pocket sends the ring flying, right into the hotel laundry chute! And so the chase is on. Up and down the elevator, through the laundry, kitchen and halls the bunnies run, consulting their Bunnyphone map at each stop. Finally, ring in hand, Ruby arrives at the wedding on time. But Max? Oh, my. Wells’ signature illustrations will charm readers as they pore over the lovely patterns that enrich the Hotel Ritz. The lift-the-flap Bunnyphone, used throughout the story, offers a map of the hotel and indicates the characters’ whereabouts. Unfortunately, while readers may enjoy turning the flaps, the phone itself is difficult to read. Readers must turn their heads and reorient themselves to understand the map, and there are multiple floors and floor plans to navigate.

The winning illustrations and lighthearted storytelling that made Max and Ruby such a hit are on display; unfortunately, the gimmick distracts from them. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-670-78461-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014


A forgettable tale.

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. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017


Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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