New-to-preschool tots will find a kindred spirit in both adventurous spirit and emotional development.

BILLIE'S YUMMY BAKERY ADVENTURE

From the Billie's Super-Duper Adventures series

Billie B. Brown continues to learn preschool lessons in this trim, little series (Billie’s Underwater Adventure, 2016, etc.).

Billie doesn’t eat much breakfast, so her stomach is “growly and grumbly.” Luckily there is a brand new bakery stand in the classroom—made from a cardboard box—where she can bake delectable treats with her friends Jack and Emily (all three friends are white in this outing). There are many hungry toys waiting for a bite of something sweet. With a pinch of sugar, a few cups of flour, and a hefty dose of imagination, Billie and Jack make delicious “button buns” that the customers love. But Emily is jealous. So she whips up a three-tiered berry confection that leaves everyone in awe. Caught in a cycle of one-upmanship, Billie and Jack try to make “pinkle-dough muffins,” but instead of measuring carefully, they rush to be the best and end up with a pinkle-dough explosion instead. In a simultaneous publication, Billie’s Wild Jungle Adventure (2016), Billie and Jack get caught in another imaginative (yet not quite as much fun) escapade involving a pretend snake in the preschool’s backyard. Larger, italicized type in both volumes highlights intriguing vocabulary, and Billie never fails to have a “super-duper idea” to save the day.

New-to-preschool tots will find a kindred spirit in both adventurous spirit and emotional development. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61067-554-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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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 wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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