Ideal for the thoughtful, deliberative child. (Picture book. 3-5)

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DOUBLE TAKE!

From the A New Look at Opposites series

A white child, a black cat, and a friendly blue elephant give a fresh new twist to the concept of opposites.

Humorous vignettes in a flat, limited color palette show the elephant “IN” the cart and falling “OUT!” of the cart; “ASLEEP” in the hammock, then suddenly “AWAKE!” when a balloon bursts; sitting with boy and cat during the color-saturated day, and, in a mirror image, their black-and-white silhouette at night. Type placement and illustrations are carefully coordinated to demonstrate relative points of view: a plane in the sky can appear to be below a car on a hill; the hare is only “FAST” in comparison with the tortoise, which is “S L O W .” The elephant appears to be the strongest in the picture—until readers realize it is standing on an enormous whale. Readers are encouraged not to take things at first glance: an abstract composition of colored circles turns into a huge painting of a butterfly when viewed from a distance. “What is ABOVE / and what is BELOW?”—it all depends on one’s perspective. “Turn things around! Give them a twist. / FIND a new view / that you might have MISSED!” The elephant and the child in a boat turn to face the land and see a beautiful urban landscape lit by the setting sun.

Ideal for the thoughtful, deliberative child. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7291-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

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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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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