A sunny ending for a mild sibling-rivalry story.

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DAY AT THE BEACH

Gideon wants to build a sand castle all by himself—until he doesn’t.

Gideon plans to build a spectacular sand castle and doesn’t want his little sister, Audrey, to help. Hurt, she goes off with their parents and Gideon gets to work, but his attempts are thwarted when volleyball players, a kite, and the incoming tide, among other things, wreck his solo works in progress. Finally, he finds a secluded part of the beach and builds the castle of his dreams. A multiracial crowd of beachgoers gathers to praise his creation, and Gideon is proud until he looks and sees Audrey with their parents. The castle they’ve built doesn’t “have straight towers, level walls, or smooth sides,” as Gideon’s does, “but it did look like fun.” Swallowing his pride, Gideon joins them to work on their castle, and generous little Audrey welcomes him despite his earlier rejection. The illustrations have a style that reveals Booth’s animation roots, but shifts in perspective and varying degrees of background detail make use of the picture-book form. Gideon and Audrey are both children of color, with brown skin and brown hair. Their mother appears white with light skin, blue eyes, and straight, dark-blond hair, while their father has brown skin and dark hair like Gideon’s.

A sunny ending for a mild sibling-rivalry story. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1105-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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