A joyous celebration of a wonderful bond.

RUTABAGA BOO!

A mother and son’s call-and-response tradition keeps them linked even when they aren’t together.

It’s the illustrations that do the heavy lifting in this tale since the text consists of the two titular words and a final “I always love you” at bedtime, but those pictures speak volumes. An exuberant young boy greets his sleeping mother in the morning: “Rutabaga?” The following spread show her awake and joyously swinging him up in her arms: “Boo!” The two repeat this exchange all day, the boy’s sometimes ending with a question mark, as when he can’t find her during a game of hide-and-seek, and sometimes with an enthusiastic exclamation point. But the whole day isn’t spent together—at one point mom snuggles him in what appears to be grandma’s house before leaving briefly, the boy forlorn at the door, though the two do exchange the titular words over a video chat on the computer, and great fun is had with grandma, who ultimately gets him ready for bedtime and the return of mom (caregivers may sigh at the sight of toys in a gift bag, though the boy’s ever present stuffed rabbit is never pushed aside). Adamson’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations celebrate the bond between mother and child, and she doesn’t dwell on the separation, showing that the boy can still have fun even though the two are apart. This single-parent family is white.

A joyous celebration of a wonderful bond. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2461-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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The book is available in just about every format--but this is the perfect one.

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU

POP-UP

It's hard to believe that a pop-up wasn't the creators' original intention, so seamlessly do moveable parts dovetail into this modern classic's storyline.

In contrast to the tale's 1998 pop -up version, the figures here move on every page, and with an unusually graceful naturalism to boot. From pulling down Big Nutbrown Hare's ears on the opening spread to make sure he's listening to drowsily turning his head to accept a final good-night kiss in a multi-leveled pull-down tableau at the close, all of Little Nutbrown Hare's hops, stretches and small gestures serve the poetically spare text—as do Big Nutbrown's wider, higher responses to his charge's challenges. As readers turn a flap to read Big Nutbrown's "But I love you this much," his arms extend to demonstrate. The emotional connection between the two hares is clearer than ever in Jeram's peaceful, restrained outdoor scenes, which are slightly larger than those in the trade edition, and the closing scene is made even more intimate by hiding the closing line ("I love you right up to the moon—and back") until an inconspicuous flap is opened up.  

The book is available in just about every format--but this is the perfect one. (Pop-up picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5378-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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