A splendid springboard to both STEM and art activities.

BLUE FLOATS AWAY

The water cycle gets the anthropomorphic treatment.

When Little Blue breaks off from his parents—a single iceberg with two heads—he’s swept away by the surrounding waves. Unsure if he’ll ever return, Blue drifts farther and farther away, witnessing snow and eventually finding companionship: fish, the moon, and boats, which help him learn about winds and currents. But Blue discovers he’s changing. As the sky warms, he grows ever smaller until he melts into the surrounding water; unable to help him, his friends leave. Then Blue evaporates, condenses, and becomes a cloud. In the sky, he meets new friends who help orient him toward home; on the way, Blue changes again, bringing about a happy reunion. This tale is told in easily comprehensible terms for the youngest readers and listeners. Blue is an accessible, sweet character who brings emotional depth to an important science concept. Dazzling illustrations, created with cut paper, colored pencil, and white ink, will hold kids’ rapt attention while they hear, wide-eyed, about Blue’s destiny. Illustrations aptly feature shades of vivid blues, but eye-popping pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, and purples also emblazon these pages. Blue and his parents are expressive even though their faces are depicted merely with light-blue dots. An author’s note explains the water cycle and climate change, and it offers tips to protect the planet. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 48.7% of actual size.)

A splendid springboard to both STEM and art activities. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4423-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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