A humorous invitation to embrace change and move on.

THE POCKET CHAOTIC

When his messy, crowded environment becomes too chaotic, a young kangaroo reaches a tipping point.

Alexander loves “hanging out” with his mum, who’s great at skipping rope, cooking, playing the piano, and crafting. Unfortunately, Mum’s not very tidy and always overloads her pouch, where Alexander prefers to spend most of his time. The pouch is warm, cozy, and smells like Mum, but it’s also filled with her phone, wallet, shopping receipts, change, things she finds in the park, and sometimes his sister’s stinky gym shorts. When Alexander complains, his sister just tells him he’s too old to still be in Mum’s pouch. Alexander futilely tries organizing things alphabetically in the pouch, but Mum just keeps adding more and more. One day, Mum tosses so much stuff into her pouch Alexander can barely move. A half-eaten banana—“A HALF. EATEN. BANANA.”—however, proves to be the final straw, prompting Alexander to announce, “this pocket is too CHAOTIC,” and finally take needed action. Amusing illustrations, rendered with fluid, black brush strokes and a snappy, eye-catching, orange-dominated palette, effectively capture all the turmoil, unrest, and chaos of Alexander’s life in Mum’s bulging pouch. Double-page spreads of Alexander fruitlessly wrangling an endless array of diverse objects present a convincing argument for his eventual progression from pouch into the next phase of his young life.

A humorous invitation to embrace change and move on. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-908714-80-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cicada Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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