FULL, FULL, FULL OF LOVE

Happiness and comfort overflow in this cozy tale of domestic bliss. An African-American boy, Jay Jay, narrates the weekly event in which “uncles and aunties, cousins and friends” all gather at Grannie’s house for Sunday dinner. Jay Jay’s mother drops him off on her way to pick up his father, so he and Grannie, whose face is as soft and warm as a down comforter, wait for the other guests. Cooke (The Grandad Tree, 2000, etc.) portrays Jay Jay’s anticipation in true child form as he repeatedly asks if dinner’s ready yet and watches restlessly out the window. The focus on Jay Jay and Grannie in the beginning might lead the reader to expect more of a story about their relationship rather than a celebration of ritual and family, but a celebration it is. Cars full of relatives finally pull up and out tumble tired, but cheerful parents and excited kids. Howard’s (One Bright Penny, p. 1395, etc.) inviting illustrations capture the complex expressions and postures of the adults and the children’s giddy and gleeful faces. The rhyming dinner menu, which Jay Jay recites, is astounding. “There were buttery peas, chicken and yams, macaroni and cheese, potatoes and ham. Biscuits, gravy, collard greens, pasta salad, rice and red beans! There was apple pie and vanilla ice cream, fresh peach cobbler covered in steam, raspberry sauce, coffee and tea—plenty, plenty for everybody!” Though a February release, the content invokes the holiday season and voices the importance of family without forcing it down anyone’s throat. Nothing else could fit after that meal anyway. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7636-1851-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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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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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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