LET’S GO, ANNA

LEARNING NUMBER 1 TO5

A shopping excursion with Dad turns into a fun-filled, edifying romp for French’s irrepressible Anna (Not Again, Anna!, 1998). Counting opportunities abound as Anna and her increasingly frazzled parent procure gifts for their loved ones, from five oranges down to one large ice-cream cone (for guess who). With glee, Anna offers her assistance—and seasoned Anna fans will know this means a rollicking adventure is in store for everyone. French’s text is appropriately brief, with short sentences focusing on favored treats and familiar family members. Ayliffe’s vibrantly hued illustrations perfectly capture Anna’s exuberant joie de vivre. Each two-page spread highlights an item on the shopping list. A half-page gatefold unveils Anna’s antics and the ensuing chaos, e.g., a florist’s shop is portrayed in full splendor as Dad and Anna select the perfect blossoms for Mom. However, when readers lift the flap, they discover Anna sprawled upon the floor in a puddle of water and greenery from the toppled pail. For each new number, there is a new mishap. Preschoolers will enjoy the predictability of the tale, joining in with the text as each misadventure is heralded by the phrase, “Oops, Anna!” A four-page, accordion-style gatefold opens up to reveal Anna safely back at home sharing her thoughtful presents with her family. The final two-page spread, a tally sheet of the items purchased features the numerals one through five, accompanied by illustrations depicting the correct amount of items. With Anna merrily leading the way, young readers will have a grand time exploring the concept of quantities. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-86233-074-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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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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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

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