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

MAX & RUBY AT THE WARTHOGS' WEDDING

From the Max & Ruby series

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 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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Charming Easter fun.

PETER EASTER FROG

You may know the Easter Bunny, but get ready to meet Peter Easter Frog!

Peter loves Easter, and he’s not going to let the fact that he’s a frog and not a bunny stop him, especially when he’s so good at hopping! He looks absolutely delighted to be hopping around delivering Easter eggs. As he hops along, so does a repeated refrain, which always begins with two words ending with “-ity” coupled with “Easter’s on its—” (“Squishity, squashity, Easter’s on its—”; “Yippity, yappity, Easter’s on its—”); each page turn playfully upends the expected conclusion of the line. Karas’ cheery art portrays a growing array of animals: a turtle decked out in lipstick and a spiffy Easter bonnet, a cow with flower choker necklace, and a sheepdog and a chipmunk sans finery. As Peter gives out colorful, patterned Easter eggs to the other animals, they are, at first, shocked to see an Easter frog but soon join him in his charitable mission to spread Easter cheer. The moment when the cow responds to the dog’s challenge that she is not a cow-bunny by pointing out its own breed as a “sheepdog” may elicit laughs, especially from adult readers. When the group finally meets the real Easter Bunny—hilariously, at the end of a dark tunnel—it seems that things may go awry, but all ends hoppily, happily, and inclusively. The text does not use dialogue tags, instead setting narration and dialogue in separate, distinctive typefaces; unfortunately, this design is not consistently applied, which may confuse readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.8% of actual size.)

Charming Easter fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6489-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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