While it’s not as creative as the works of Hervé Tullet, his fans may enjoy this different kind of interactive book.

MOKOMAKI!

LET'S COUNT

Finnish graphic designer Kontinen brings her internationally popular world of digital animals to the U.S.

The Mokomaki are small birds with large black eyes that live in the forest of Mokomaka. These birds also like to travel, and as readers turn the introductory page, a giraffe parent implores the Mokomaki to help find its baby. With the clue “He’s the tiniest of all,” readers join the Mokomaki in sorting through three different baby giraffes to determine the correct one. In each double-page spread, another animal parent with an oversized head and equally big, expressive eyes asks for help in finding its lost baby. The task becomes increasingly challenging as the number of baby animals grows and the clues become more difficult. For instance, a monkey parent asks the Mokomaki to find its twins: “They’ve tied their tails in knots!” With 24 monkeys looping tails, joining hands, and pulling on tails, it’s a challenge even for adults to find a pair with knotted tails. Comments throughout by the little birds keep the book lively. Adult readers may find the static, geometrically composed animals uninspiring, but youngsters used to digital games and videos will have no qualms as they practice their visual literacy skills, sorting, counting, naming colors, and looking for clues.

While it’s not as creative as the works of Hervé Tullet, his fans may enjoy this different kind of interactive book. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-57687-805-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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