There’s lots to love here indeed.

ONE, TWO, GRANDMA LOVES YOU

Anticipation makes Grandma’s visits with her grandchild extra special.

Although they’re depicted embracing on the cover, for the first two spreads, Grandma (who appears White, with brown hair pulled into a bun) and her grandchild (who appears to be a kid of color, with brown skin and curly black hair) are seen in their separate homes. Yaccarino’s bold, flat art style has a modern flair even as the accompanying text evokes the familiar nursery rhyme to share anticipation of a visit. The third spread reads, “Nine, ten together again!” and the cover art is replicated on the recto while the facing page introduces the child’s parents, a Black man and White woman, who are dropping the child off with Grandma. Ensuing pages share how the pair joyfully fill their days together, until—“three, four blocking door,” the visitor tries to prevent mom and dad from coming in to retrieve their offspring. Instead of ending the story there, Becker and Yaccarino show how Grandma and grandchild keep in touch while apart, and then a culminating scene shows them reuniting for another visit—only this time Grandma packs her bag to make the trip to her grandchild’s house. Especially given the separation many grandparents and grandchildren have endured throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, this title is likely to strike a chord with readers.

There’s lots to love here indeed. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4218-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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