Clever wordplay and an unlikely (and adorable) protagonist make this book knot to be missed.

KNOT CANNOT

Knot is a short length of rope who wishes he were more like Snake, but…he’s knot.

Thus begins a zany exploration of all the things Snake can do (slither, hiss, swallow) that Knot cannot. Lowery’s signature madcap cartoons and hand lettering depict a smug snake and a surprisingly expressive knot with bug eyes and emotive stripes who produces long-suffering sighs in speech bubbles. Meanwhile, Stone’s text is both funny and punny: “Snake can even shed her skin. Snake looks brand-new. Can Knot look brand-new? No, he’s a frayed knot.” Additionally, rhyme-y knot/not combinations and jokes fill the pages. “Can Knot do this? Knot can…not. What can Knot do? Not a lot.” When danger approaches, however, Knot’s signature ability (“Knot can…knot!”) finally comes in handy to save his friend. Yes, it’s essentially a one-trick pony, but Stone and Lowery’s collaboration is a fun vehicle for important learning, ably illustrating the futility of comparing yourself to others while celebrating each individual’s strengths. As a bonus, it also sneakily includes actual information about several different types of knots that Knot can make.

Clever wordplay and an unlikely (and adorable) protagonist make this book knot to be missed. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3080-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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 perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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