An abecedarian catalog of delights.

READ REVIEW

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Who says unpublished Sendaks get to have all the fun?

This unpublished manuscript from the creator of A Hole Is To Dig (which was illustrated by said Sendak in 1952) follows in very much the same vein as that classic.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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more