Silly, wiggly, giggly fun.

HOW TO PUT AN OCTOPUS TO BED

Playful bedtime reading, with octopuses.

Protagonist Floyd is a rambunctious, anthropomorphic octopus child who’s quite a handful. Even with their combined 16 arms, his Mommy-O and OctoPop can’t contain him. Of course, “giggly, squiggly, oh-so-wiggly” Floyd has eight arms of his own, and they never stop moving. The characters’ anthropomorphism extends to the degree that they appear to live in a space that isn’t underwater (though perhaps it’s a submerged submarine of sorts?), and part of Floyd’s bedtime routine includes taking a bath. He fills a massive, three-tiered tub, and all three of them end up soaking wet. Tooth-brushing is a frothy mess, but getting Floyd into his pajamas proves the most challenging with so very many arms and armholes to negotiate. “Get ready for the nightly rumble…the OCTO PAJAMA TANGLE TUMBLE!” reads the emphatic type, and it takes two double-page spreads to get everyone sorted out. Throughout, Schwarz’s bright, cartoon art depicts the octopus family as rounded, downright cuddly beings in bright hues that capture the lively spirit of the text.

Silly, wiggly, giggly fun. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-4010-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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