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RHINO RUMPUS

A rhino-miss.

The evening and bedtime routines of three rhinos involve lots of intervention from an exasperated mother.

“One little rhino in a mood. / Two little rhinos acting rude. / Three little rhinos tussling, fighting. // Mama rhino cries, / No biting!” The evening squabbles continue through dinnertime, a bath, drying off, and brushing teeth. But when a tired Mama enjoins them, “Here’s a kiss and here’s a song… / And when you wake, please get along!” the three band together to give her some love before all fall asleep. Since Anderson favors double-page spreads over vignettes, it can be difficult for readers to pick out and count the rhinos to match the text, and this sometimes also results in the pictures not matching the rhymes at all. When Anderson shows the baby rhino in a highchair gleefully throwing food and the two older siblings on the opposite page, it is clear that the two have left their places, but the three are not butting heads as the rhyme says. Mama rhino sports a double piercing in her ear and pearls around her massive, wrinkly neck, while one child has bows on head and tail. While the rhymes and cadence may remind more than one reader of Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama, few will return for repeat outings with this trio; they lack the characterization and personality of the beloved camelid, and the illustrations just don’t do this tale justice.

A rhino-miss. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-927485-96-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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