Aside from the spinnable color wheel insert at the end of the book, there is little here to hold the attention of even the...

COLORS

From the First Wheels series

Another contribution to the crowded field of big-truck picture books, with a focus on color.

This offering combines an introduction to colors with depictions of a progression of vehicles, two per double-page spread: “red dump truck / red digger // orange digger / orange roller // yellow roller / yellow bulldozer,” and so on through trucks, cement mixers, cars, and vans, coming full circle back to a red dump truck and a red digger. Pink, white, gray, and black join the basic rainbow colors. The vibrant, paper-collaged illustrations are overlaid on plain, brightly colored, contrasting backgrounds; red painted vehicles appear on yellow and blue pages, yellow on tan, purple on yellow. While the images are clear and skillfully constructed, they appear static, belying their intrinsic quality of motion, and resemble a manufacturer’s catalog rather than a children’s picture book. The concept appears to be one of unadorned simplicity. Apart from a smattering of sea gulls, there are no living creatures, and the vehicle cabs look strangely empty. An opportunity to include some interesting, diverse women and men drivers has surely been missed here. Endpapers show a collection of wheels and a repetition of the truck drawings.

Aside from the spinnable color wheel insert at the end of the book, there is little here to hold the attention of even the most digger-crazy toddler. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-84780-742-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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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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