PHOEBE & DIGGER

Phoebe overcomes new-sibling qualms and fear of a playground bully in this emotive and playful story.

“When Mama got a new baby...Phoebe got a new digger.” Comical illustrations and text play this dynamic out as the baby cries, eats and poops; Digger (a toy backhoe), controlled by Phoebe, is equal in attention-seeking behavior, knocking over trash, chasing the cat and pulling tablecloths down. An outing to the park becomes the perfect distraction, as Digger enjoys real dirt and Phoebe her imagination. Parental misinterpretation of behavior lands Phoebe in timeout—a perfect representation of Phoebe’s feelings regarding the injustice of the family’s latest change. When play resumes, a bully snatches Digger. Phoebe tries to get him back, but to no avail. When she’s on the brink of tears, Mama reassuringly steps in. With Digger back in Phoebe’s arms, and Phoebe back in Mama’s arms, the heroine once again feels safe and loved. With a new connection to her sibling made, a frozen treat shared and her world restored, all ends happily. Newman’s expressive drawings, done in a loose and economical style, serve the story well. His artwork, from the way he considers perspective to the interesting and emotionally truthful portrayals of the characters, allows readers (and parents!) to identify with this feisty yet sensitive heroine.

Nuanced and humorous, this is a worthy addition to the new-sibling shelf. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5281-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more