Funny, imaginative, and subversive—sure to be a read-aloud favorite.

SCAREDY BATH

Who thought a bathtub could dread bathtime!

Scaredy Bath spends all day every day fretting about the evening. Thumping footsteps coming up the stairs, the hot water, toys and bubbles, and two smelly and stinky little ones—it’s unbearable! When the big hairy dog jumps in, Scaredy Bath decides that’s enough and attempts to leave, but its feet are stuck to the floor. The sink and toilet try to put things into perspective, hilariously (“Think about what I have to put up with,” quips the toilet), but Scaredy Bath still loathes bathtime…until one day, no one comes. And Scaredy Bath is faced with an even more unpleasant prospect—abandonment. Perhaps bathtime might not be so bad after all. Dry, understated text that underscores the topsy-turvy situation is accompanied by giggle-inducing illustrations rendered in loose lines. One image of a child peeing in the bath might make adults cringe but will delight young ones seeking to avoid their own bathtimes. Depicted in bright yellow, Scaredy Bath shows a remarkable range of facial expressions—wide-eyed, cringing, sad, afraid—especially on a spread in which the tub is seen waiting all day for bathtime. This is a funny tale in a long line of narrative twists designed to encourage children to engage in and enjoy a necessary part of childhood life, among them Mitchell Sharmat’s Gregory the Terrible Eater (1980), illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. Scaredy Bath’s family is light-skinned; one of the adults is blond, the other is bald, and the children are dark-haired. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Funny, imaginative, and subversive—sure to be a read-aloud favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-52063-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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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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