A stylish showcase for the artists, but the lack of connection between pictures and plotlines will limit its interest for...

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ANIMALS ARE DELICIOUS

Three food chains at work—at ground level, in the air, and in the ocean.

In each picture Ladd and Anderson pose a single realistic, somewhat plasticized model in a simplified natural setting made with cut and folded paper. Printed separately on accordion-folded leaves of heavy stock and packaged together in a slipcase, the three sequences can be read through or laid out on display with equal ease. With cumulative narratives running beneath, each follows a similar course. “High in the Sky, Everyone Is Hungry,” for instance, opens with elm leaves that “turn sunshine into food” until becoming food themselves for a woolly apple aphid that in turn falls prey to a ladybug who feeds a swallow and so on for three more levels of predation, up to a great horned owl snapping up a red-tailed hawk (unlikely but at least theoretically possible). Along with brief analyses at the end, silhouettes on the back sides of the pages show other foods in each creature’s diet. Though these do convey a general idea of how food chains work, it’s at best a bland and intellectualized one as, topic and the use of such words as “CHOMP!” and “GULP!” notwithstanding, predators and prey only appear in separate scenes, and there is no actual eating on view.

A stylish showcase for the artists, but the lack of connection between pictures and plotlines will limit its interest for younger audiences. (Informational board book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7144-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Laugh-out-loud fun for all.

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NANETTE'S BAGUETTE

Hilarious complications ensue when Nanette’s mom gives her the responsibility of buying the family baguette.

She sets out on her errand and encounters lots of distractions along the way as she meets and greets Georgette, Suzette, Bret with his clarinet, Mr. Barnett and his pet, Antoinette. But she remembers her mission and buys the baguette from Juliette the baker. And oh, it is a wonderful large, warm, aromatic hunk of bread, so Nanette takes a taste and another and more—until there is nothing left. Maybe she needs to take a jet to Tibet. But she faces her mother and finds understanding, tenderness, and a surprise twist. Willems is at his outlandish best with line after line of “ettes” and their absurd rhymes, all the while demonstrating a deep knowledge of children’s thought processes. Nanette and the entire cast of characters are bright green frogs with very large round eyes, heavily outlined in black and clad in eccentric clothing and hats. A highly detailed village constructed of cardboard forms the background for Nanette’s adventures. Her every emotion explodes all over the pages in wildly expressive, colorful vignettes and an eye-popping use of emphatic display type. The endpapers follow the fate of the baguette from fresh and whole to chewed and gone. Demands for encores will surely follow.

Laugh-out-loud fun for all. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2286-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin.

ON THE FIRST DAY OF FIRST GRADE

The traditional song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gets a school makeover as readers follow a cheery narrator through the first 12 days of first grade.

“On the first day of first grade / I had fun right away // laughing and learning all day!” In these first two spreads, Jennings shows the child, who has brown skin and a cloud of dark-brown hair, entering the schoolyard with a diverse array of classmates and settling in. In the backgrounds, caregivers, including a woman in hijab, stand at the fence and kids hang things on hooks in the back of the room. Each new day sees the child and their friends enjoying new things, previous days’ activities repeated in the verses each time so that those listening will soon be chiming in. The child helps in the classroom, checks out books from the library, plants seeds, practices telling time and counting money, leads the line, performs in a play, shows off a picture of their pet bunny, and does activities in gym, music, and art classes. The Photoshop-and-watercolor illustrations portray adorable and engaged kids having fun while learning with friends. But while the song and topic are the same, this doesn’t come close to touching either the hysterical visuals or great rhythm of Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003).

For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266851-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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