While Very Little Red Riding Hood’s agency is laudable, the incredibly feel-good plot (no consequences for foolish actions...

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VERY LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

From the Very Little series

A sweeter-than-sweet retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood.”

In this twist on the classic tale, Little Red Riding Hood is exactly that—little...very little. In fact, she is so young that readers may wonder why her mother would send a child whose grammar and vocabulary reflect that of a 3-year-old to venture out on her own to visit her Grandmama. So, off goes Very Little Red Riding Hood cloaked in a cat-ear hooded jacket. On the edge of a very safe-looking, light-colored, sparse wood, she meets a Wolf. The Wolf, bedecked in a furry coat and scarf, is quickly intimidated by the tot’s obstinate, toddlerlike demands. When they arrive at Grandmama’s—which is hard to distinguish from the woods since both have a white-space background—Grandmama shuts the door on the Wolf, but Very Little Red Riding Hood soon convinces her to let the Wolf in. Wolf is very well-behaved—the real problem is Very Little Red Riding Hood, who has a meltdown. The Wolf coaxes her out of it using the traditional dialogue Little Red Riding Hood usually uses (“Oh, what big, wet eyes you have,” etc.).

While Very Little Red Riding Hood’s agency is laudable, the incredibly feel-good plot (no consequences for foolish actions here!) and the bratty, baby-talking Red Riding Hood herself make this book one to pass by. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-28000-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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