There are many better chronicles of changing seasons.

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IF WINTER COMES, TELL IT I'M NOT HERE

Summer’s really fun—so will winter be terrible?

“Swimming is my favorite thing,” opines the protagonist from a pool, wearing red trunks and puffy yellow water wings. From this overhead view, wavery lines indicate the water’s movement around swimmers and across the pool’s pale blue tiles. But time marches forward, and a sister will begin the taunting. “Summer’s going to end soon,” she announces with a superior air, alarming the protagonist with forecasts of short days, leafless trees, being “stuck on the sofa for days,” and such chilly temperatures that even ice cream won’t appeal. But when fall and winter arrive, they hold their own delights. Chilly air allows nestling in a parent’s long scarf. Being “stuck on the sofa” means the family snuggles together under a quilt. Rain brings bright red boots, a yellow umbrella, and a chance to stomp puddles. And who needs ice cream when there’s cocoa? It’s an interracial family, with a White-appearing dad and Asian-appearing mom; the narrator looks an awful lot like Dad while big sister looks like Mom. A paradox makes the premise flimsy: A child who can imagine far enough ahead to fear future seasons would probably already hold some memory about what last winter was like—and be less vulnerable to a sibling’s dire prediction. Ciraolo’s art is inconsistent, sometimes seasonally evocative, sometimes seeming slapdash, with an odd, expressionist vibe. The text on the closing spreads peters out into dullness.

There are many better chronicles of changing seasons. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1530-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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