This charming, animated episode will elicit giggles and demands of “read it again!” (Picture book. 2-5)

READ REVIEW

MINE!

What toddler hasn’t experienced the frustration of trying to retrieve toys from a baby sibling or the family dog with a shouted “MINE!”?

Though the situation is quite familiar, it’s the whimsical illustrations that capture every comical nuance here. The text is virtually wordless—just one word, “Mine,” which is repeated in the first several spreads and is implied in following scenes. Initially, this scene of play starts badly, with the toddler rounding up all the toys, uttering “mine” with each one. Baby flings toy bunny in the air, and it lands in the dog’s water dish. Dog shakes wet bunny, showering water everywhere. Toddler drops all the other toys in the dog’s water bowl, spraying water on the laughing kids and dog (who breaks the textual pattern with one “Woof?”). Body and facial expressions need no translating. A string of blue dotted lines traces the movements of all the tossed and flying objects. The capricious artwork has touches of Helen Oxenbury and Marla Frazee’s babies, smudgy, digitized pencil sketches full of movement and joy. As a discussion piece to use with very young children, a basic lesson in emotional literacy or an exercise in reading the pictures, this not-as-simple-as-it-seems book excels.

This charming, animated episode will elicit giggles and demands of “read it again!” (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86711-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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