A royal serving of fun for the new-baby shelf.

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, KING BABY

A TERRIBLE TRUE STORY

A big sister’s nose is out of joint when her baby brother arrives and makes a royal mess of what she regarded as her once-ideal life.

First-person text establishes “the most beautifulest, cleverest, ever-so-kindest Princess with long, flowing wondrous hair” as the narrator of this new-baby story. Illustrations amplify the flowery text’s humor by depicting the white girl with bobbed hair and wearing a pair of yellow tights on her head to emulate Rapunzel-like locks. After King Baby, who is also white though initially hairless, arrives, parallel series of panel illustrations, one rendered in the cartoon style of the main book, the other in a naïve style that suggests a child’s hand, detail the ways that the baby disrupts her happy life with his pooping, burping, attention-hogging ways. The worst arrives with his first birthday, which she decides to interrupt “disguised as a Mysterious Fairy, with a magic wand, a big very magical nose, and a cunning plan….” But before she can put her plan into action, the baby is overwhelmed by the party guests’ singing and attention and begins to cry. Who can soothe him? Only his big sister, of course. She’s now a “Kind Fairy [whose] loveliness had grown even stronger (like a sparkling mountain stream).” And, yes, following this act of sisterly kindness, “They Lived Happily Ever After—THE END….”

A royal serving of fun for the new-baby shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9793-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Inspiring, if all these pinkie promises don’t get in the way.

PINKIE PROMISES

Lately, everyone seems intent on telling Polly what girls can’t do.

Whether it’s fixing a leak, building a model drawbridge, or washing a car, it seems like the world thinks that girls aren’t able to do anything. Polly is discouraged until she goes to a political rally with her mother. There, the two meet a White woman named Elizabeth (recognizably author Warren in Chua’s friendly illustrations) who’s running for president. She tells Polly that she is running because that’s what girls do: They lead. Polly and Elizabeth make a pinky promise to remember this truth. Polly decides that being a girl can’t prevent her from doing whatever she wants. Even though she’s a bit intimidated at attending a brand-new school, Polly decides to be brave—because that’s what girls do, and she makes a pinkie promise with her mom. At soccer, she’s under pressure to score the winning goal. She makes a pinkie promise with her coach to do her best, because that’s what girls do. And so on. By the end of the book, Polly ignores what she’s been told that girls can’t do and totally focuses on what they can do: absolutely anything they want. In the illustrations, Polly and her family have dark skin and straight, dark hair. The narrative is inspiring and child friendly, although the constant return to making pinkie promises feels like a distraction from the central message. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Inspiring, if all these pinkie promises don’t get in the way. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-80102-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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