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ONE SHEEP, TWO SHEEP

A fine addition to the sleepy sheepy canon.

A tired rooster just wants to get to sleep…now if only he can count the sheep.

Rooster settles down in bed to count himself to sleep with the classic device of counting sheep jumping over fences. He gets as far as three, but then Chicken hurdles the fence. “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! A CHICKEN?! / I’m sorry, but this is serious bedtime business. / I count SHEEP, okay? Just sheep!” A few more sheep jump, but then Pig puts in an appearance. Again, Rooster tells the farmyard that all he wants to count is sheep. Three more sheep hop over, but then Cow (in crown and tutu) leaps the fence. “Cock-a-doodle-DO WE NEED TO REVIEW? / Counting SHEEP helps me sleep.” Still awake, the rooster gets as far as 10 sheep, but then seven chicks “cheep” outside his coop. Rooster sternly addresses each animal in turn; each tries bleating like a sheep, but he tells them what sound they should make. All seems to be in order…but then all the sheep jump into the lake with Duck with a “Quack!” The solution? All his non-ovine friends, dressed as sheep, jump over the fence to lull their friend to sleep. Sauer’s bedtime barnyard book will work well for a nighttime read, with the caveat that Cummings’ silly cartoons will incite giggles here and there. The wide-eyed, smiling critters and the deadpan humor are a good pairing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fine addition to the sleepy sheepy canon. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4630-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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HEY, DUCK!

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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