While there are few books that even mention kids’ complaints about the November holiday, the majority of Thanksgiving-themed...

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THANKSGIVING FOR EMILY ANN

A kid’s perspective on Thanksgiving Day points out all the inconveniences of the holiday.

Emily Ann counts her woes instead of her blessings on this particular Thanksgiving: Her brother’s mean, her sister’s interested only in makeup and magazines, everyone is too busy with preparations to play with her, and visiting, snoring Grandpa takes her bed, relegating her to the floor. So, the devious Emily Ann decides to play a prank that will get everyone’s attention. Just as she is enacting her plan, a comment from her mother about what she perceives as Emily Ann’s helpfulness unrealistically causes a complete turnabout in Emily Ann’s attitude. “And there in that room, / Emily Ann saw the truth. / Her family had come together; / from Uncle Mark to little Ruth….And she was a piece of it, / from her top to her toes. // They really didn’t matter, all her Thanksgiving woes.” Johnston’s verses sometimes sacrifice ease of reading for the rhyme scheme and meter, but the shortness of the text is good for younger listeners. Brantley-Newton’s illustrations capture the familiar sights of a family Thanksgiving, though Emily Ann’s facial expressions are rather static.

While there are few books that even mention kids’ complaints about the November holiday, the majority of Thanksgiving-themed books address gratitude much more meaningfully (and realistically). (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-43413-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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Both perfect for Lola fans and likely to earn her ever more readers.

LOLA GOES TO SCHOOL

From the Lola & Leo series

After years of everyday joys with McQuinn and Beardshaw’s Lola, readers now watch her start school.

It “will be a bit like story time at the library, but Lola will stay by herself.” The little black girl “knows what to expect” because she’s visited the school with her mom. She is prepared with gifts from loved ones—“fun pencils” from Nana, a water bottle from Ty. The night before her “big day,” Lola lays out her outfit. In the morning, she tucks her stuffed kitty, Dinah, in her bag and poses for a snapshot. In the classroom, Miss Suzan, a white woman, shows her where to put her things. Lola spends time reading with her friend Julia, who has pale skin and black hair, and then they play dress-up. Her mom sits for a while before saying goodbye. After snack time and more play, there is circle time. Of course, “Lola knows the song and all the motions.” Picking Lola up at the end of the day, Mommy hugs her daughter. Beardshaw’s soft, slightly smudgy illustrations allow young readers to focus on one cozy moment at a time. Even at this milestone, Lola still appears quite tiny, and the text is no more complex than in previous books, making this a seamless transition from Lola’s younger days to her new life in school.

Both perfect for Lola fans and likely to earn her ever more readers. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-938-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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