An abecedarian catalog of delights.

ROAR LIKE A DANDELION

Who says unpublished Sendaks get to have all the fun?

This unpublished manuscript from the creator of A Hole Is To Dig (which was illustrated by said Sendak in 1952) follows in very much the same vein as that classic. It’s ostensibly an alphabet book, and each letter is represented by a clear-cut command to child readers. They are urged in no uncertain terms to attempt short, simple acts (“Nod YES”), to make grand declarations (“Yell, ‘Good morning, big fat world!’ ”), and to attain moments of distilled poetry (“Open your eyes, see the sea / Shut them fast, lock it in”). Ruzzier’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations meet, with great command, the challenge of making sense of Krauss’ more esoteric urgings. Thus, “Go like a road” is illustrated with a (possibly) benign python a trail of mice walk along, and “Eat all the locks off the doors” features a pig, with a door stretched before it, screwdriver and wrench gripped like a fork and knife. Where Krauss rejoiced in children’s irrepressible sense of self, Ruzzier’s art recapitulates that feeling, and, with his cast of cats, rats, bugs, and birds, he is unafraid to bring a little surrealism into the mix. Ultimately, this work adroitly bridges the more-than–half-century gap between two accomplished artists.

An abecedarian catalog of delights. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-268007-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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