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The mayhem of young family life seen through a positive, whimsical lens.

A celebration of the sometimes-exasperating, but always entertaining, shenanigans of irrepressibly energetic young children.

As Levy explains in a brief introduction, mazik “is a Yiddish word for a devilish imp or a rambunctious mischief-maker.” The story follows the daily antics of two sibling maziks—cued as female and male—with White human parents. At breakfast time, the maziks—portrayed as happy little monsters with small fangs and pink and green skin—make a huge mess; ditto during crafts time in the living room. On some days, they attend school, where they hide under or jump on the furniture. On other days, they enjoy a rowdy, splashy romp at the pool or have a wild frolic with a multiracial group of neighborhood human kids. At dinnertime, they spill their juice and slip the cat challah bread before having a bedtime pillow fight. The rhyming text is filled with rhetorical questions (“Do they rumble? / Do they fight? / Do they snarl with all their might?” etc.) as the narrator repeatedly wonders, “What do maziks do each day?” The colorful, busy artwork subtly indicates that this Jewish family observes Shabbat and ends each day with a Sh’ma prayer and that the maziks attend a Judaic school. Non-Jewish readers may miss these details, but the book’s depiction of the hectic, demanding life of an active young family will be familiar to all little hellions and their exhausted parents. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The mayhem of young family life seen through a positive, whimsical lens. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72842-427-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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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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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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