A rowdy, raucous return for Niño and a dazzling debut for his most worthy rivals.

RUDAS

NIÑO'S HORRENDOUS HERMANITAS

Pint-sized luchador Niño captured readers’ imaginations in the Pura Belpré Award–winning title Niño Wrestles the World (2014). Now he is back, but this time his baby sisters, Las Hermanitas, have come to steal the show.

Childlike drawings on the opening endpapers explain that luchadores are divided into two categories: técnicos (good guys) and rudos (bad guys). Las Hermanitas are definitely rudas. Niño is playing with some familiar characters, El Extraterrestre and La Llorona, when Las Hermanitas burst onto the scene and the rumble begins. They take on their opponents one by one and use whatever rotten means necessary to crush the competition, starting right off with a move called the Poopy Bomb Blowout. The action and humor continue until only Niño can bring an end to his little sisters’ destruction. This follow-up uses the same playful, graphic illustration style and vibrant color palette seen in the original. Several Spanish words and phrases appear in the callouts and speech bubbles, many of which are defined in the closing endpaper illustrations. The English text is peppered with alliteration, onomatopoeia, and a few words that will stretch young readers’ growing vocabulary (such as “phenomenal” and “preposterous”). The overall effect is a narrative that begs to be read aloud.

A rowdy, raucous return for Niño and a dazzling debut for his most worthy rivals. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-240-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Cute but not substantive, and the wording may be off-putting.

YOU MAKE ME HAPPY

Fox and Porcupine celebrate the many ways they enjoy each other.

“You make me happy, / like birds taking flight, / like a waterfall twinkling, / like morning’s first light. // The things that you do, and the things that you say, / fill me with sunshine and brighten my day.” Throughout the seasons, readers are treated to a look at all the lovely times the duo have. Even when the text hints that one is feeling down and the other is cheering them on, the acrylic-paint–and–colored-pencil artwork shows both feeling glad, demanding that readers guess which might have been sad. That’s not the only thing readers will have to guess either. It’s unclear whether this relationship is friendly, romantic, or familial; at times the text and illustrations make it seem as though it could be any of these. And the first-person narrator is also never identified. The idea is certainly sweet, the roly-poly pair are delightfully expressive and adorable, and the sentiments expressed are those caregivers appreciate and celebrate in their children. Still, the wording may cause adults to cringe, especially those trained in psychology and like subjects that emphasize that confidence and well-being do not rest on externalities: “You make me happy and hopeful and strong.”

Cute but not substantive, and the wording may be off-putting. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68119-849-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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