Readers will clamor for more of the irrepressible Sophie, while parents will secretly smile—sheer delight.

READ REVIEW

TIME-OUT FOR SOPHIE

Little Sophie gleefully makes mischief until Granny cleverly responds in this soon-to-be favorite about the joys of raising (and being) a toddler.

Sophie greets readers on the title page, a bibbed mouse awaiting a meal. With this seemingly innocuous image, Wells makes readers Sophie’s accomplices—the bib suggests innocence, while her impish expression forebodes trouble of the hilarious kind. Tonight, Sophie happily throws her dinner on the floor. Gently but firmly, Mama chides her and makes more. The throwing becomes exuberant, and it’s time-out for Sophie. Daddy fares no better when his adorable daughter wants to help with laundry. Folded clothes are tipped; on the second try they’re flying, leading to another time-out. But when Sophie asks for a book and then takes Grandma’s glasses repeatedly, it’s Granny who goes into time-out. With the tables turned on the puckish toddler, Sophie re-evaluates. Wells’ signature mixed-media illustrations are at their best: playful, fresh, deceptively simple yet intricately rendered and absolutely revealing. A bespectacled Sophie’s self-satisfaction while Granny extends a gentle and patient hand; the loving tenderness Sophie shows when placing the glasses on Granny’s nose; the cuddly deliciousness of the two reading together—all affirm Wells’ skill at depicting family relationships and their attendant challenges and joys.

Readers will clamor for more of the irrepressible Sophie, while parents will secretly smile—sheer delight. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-670-78511-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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