Interactions make this simple day on the farm a fun one.

FARM THE FARM

Spend the day on the farm, caring for the animals.

Calling all farmers! Put on your overalls and boots, because we are going to the farm. Readers are first introduced to a sad cow, who just wants to graze the pasture. “Swing” open the gate (flap), and the cow is happy to go. Next, readers meet hungry, unhappy hens. Lift the flap to “sprinkle some food” and see them eating away. Moving along, readers find a pony who needs some primping. Turn down the flap to “brush” its mane and ta-da! The pony’s eyes are visible. Next, readers see an egg that’s too cold. When readers flip the flap to turn on the heat lamp, surprise! A duckling hatches. Oh no! The goat is hungry—move the flap to “feed” it from a bottle. Time to grab the clippers and “swipe” them across the sheep’s fleece. Lift the flap to see the happy, shaved sheep. Next, readers meet the pig from the cover, dismayed by the dust. Turn the flap to “twist the faucet” and make a muddy wallow. Finally, it’s time to pick up the poop. “Grab a shovel” and some grossed-out laughs before flipping the flap to clean it up. Reul’s expressive, funny cartoons give her animals lots of personality, and the highlighted verbs are robust additions to toddlers’ vocabularies.

Interactions make this simple day on the farm a fun one. (Board book. 2-6)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0940-8

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 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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