A funny and deceptively simple meditation on unconditional filial love

READ REVIEW

IS MOMMY?

A passel of tots discuss their moms' positive and negative aspects with uncontained glee.

"Is mommy tall... / or short?" an unseen narrator asks a crimson-haired tyke wearing a matching crimson dress with white polka dots. The child imagines "tall" (mommy leans down lovingly, about to pick up her dubious-looking daughter) and "short" (now the child looms over a suddenly shrunken, dismayed-looking mommy). With a turn of the page, a definitive, spread-dominating speech bubble declares, "Short!" Other child-and-mommy pairings demonstrate pretty or ugly, nice or mean, fun or boring, young or old, neat or messy; each mommy is loudly adjudged the negative alternative, the growing crowd of children reveling in the mischief. Frazee uses tempera in a limited palette of candy colors, black, and white on soft tan Manila paper, brush strokes giving each area of color (plus the white speech bubbles) luscious texture. The moms look like tall, elongated versions of their children, down to identically colored clothing and hair and distinctive hairstyles. In fluidity of line, simplicity and boldness of palette, and often peculiarity of hairstyle, the figures evoke Seuss’ Whos; in sheer impishness, these children are 100-percent Frazee. When asked, “Do you love your short, ugly, mean, boring, old, messy mommy?” however, there is no question in these children’s minds: “Yes!”

A funny and deceptively simple meditation on unconditional filial love . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0292-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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?

No Comments Yet

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more