Umrigar’s flights of fancy may lead parents and children to ponder their own specific traits and what might have led to them...

WHEN I CARRIED YOU IN MY BELLY

A mother relates how her actions during pregnancy led to her growing daughter’s specific traits.

“When I carried you in my belly, Grandpa baked a chocolate cake each week, and cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles, and lots of love inside. And that is why you became… // the sweetest girl that I know.” Daddy’s plans to play ball resulted in the girl’s becoming a “fearless little sprite,” and her feet “tap in rhythm to the earth today” because her mom danced while pregnant. While these notions of inborn traits are unscientific to say the least, they will strike a chord with both new mothers and children, who love to hear about their beginnings. And the ending spreads tug heartstrings: “I felt your kicks and heartbeats as clearly as my own. And that is why, my baby, now that I no longer carry you in my belly… // I carry you in my heart, each day.” Chen’s seemingly digital illustrations portray an obviously loving family. Mother and daughter are light-brown–skinned brunettes, while dad has darker skin and close-cropped dark hair.

Umrigar’s flights of fancy may lead parents and children to ponder their own specific traits and what might have led to them (and hopefully a discussion of nature and nurture as well). (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6058-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Preachy and predictable.

RUBYLICIOUS

From the Pinkalicious series

Pinkalicious is excited to add the 100th rock to her rock collection.

Her brother, Peter, is not impressed. He thinks the rock looks dirty and that it isn’t special at all. When the siblings try to rub the rock clean, though, something wonderful happens: A magical figure emerges in a cloud of red smoke. Rather than ask her name, Pinkalicious and Peter tell her they will call her Rocky. Rocky accepts the new name and nervously says that she can grant the children a wish. But every time the sister and brother make a wish, Rocky initially grants it and then talks them out of it. When Peter and Pinkalicious wish for a gigantic mountain of sweets, for instance, a timorous Rocky shows them how eating so much sugar harms their bodies. When the children wish that they could fly, Rocky shows them how dangerous flying can be. When they wish to live in a castle, Rocky gives them a palace that is too large and cold to be any fun. In the end, Pinkalicious and Peter decide that the best wish they can make isn’t for themselves but for Rocky—a decision that leads to even more magical results. This latest series installment underwhelms. In addition to the arbitrary plot and wooden dialogue, Pinkalicious and Peter come across as maddeningly entitled. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Preachy and predictable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-305521-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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