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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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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