Simple, age-appropriate, and thoughtfully diverse. Exactly what we want in a board book.



A charming collection of 12 baby pictures with toes as the unifying principle.

Pictures on the right-hand pages show a variety of unique (mostly) diaper-clad toddlers engaged in recognizable baby activities. Each left-hand page uses just five playful words to describe what’s happening. Each line begins with the child’s name and ends with “toes.” Judging by naming convention, the pictures are evenly split between female and male. The final three photos, without names, are appropriately androgynous. The well-chosen pictures are a mix of stock photos and family snapshots. The cover picture is of a baby with light brown skin and tight brown curls. A pale-skinned tot named Gabby, naked but modestly posed, is totally focused on rinsing her feet at a spigot. Abha is brown-skinned. Aleen’s lifted high by a woman in a hijab. “Oliver has piggledy-wiggledy toes” shows an older child playfully nibbling on Oliver’s feet. A few pages later Izzy is obviously nursing. These babies are winsome but they are not airbrushed, making them all the more delightful. Liam has a red rash around his smiling mouth. Toddlers will easily recognize themselves, and children who have outgrown diapers will enjoy remembering what it was like when they (or their siblings) were babies.

Simple, age-appropriate, and thoughtfully diverse. Exactly what we want in a board book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1342-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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 comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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