A charming look at the lives of little ones, all fortunate to be cherished and cared for by loving adults.

BUSY BABIES

A brisk, rhyming text describes the actions of infants and toddling 1- and 2-year-olds, shown in daily activities with their parents, grandparents, and caregivers.

Clean, white backgrounds and a tall, vertically oriented trim accommodate some pages with two to four spot illustrations and a few with full-page views of the entrancing tykes in action. The children and adults include people of different ethnicities and several grandparents or caregivers with gray hair as well as dads and grandpas taking an active role with their little ones. Some children are still babes in arms or just sitting up, but most are walking (or running!) on their own and beginning to exert their independence. All sorts of activities are portrayed: eating and napping, visiting parks and an art museum, and typical toddler mischief such as emptying a wastebasket. The brief text repeats the titular phrase, followed by action phrases describing each activity, with a loose, pleasant rhyme scheme. The tiny tykes themselves have slightly oversized, round heads with teeny dots for eyes, and their adorable outfits include bright colors and patterns as well as one little one in a purple velveteen dress. The final page shows a toddler with a tricycle (but no helmet) and the concluding phrase, “Busy babies / Just like you!” Any child 2 or older will not want to be called a baby (though older siblings might be happy to), but that’s a small quibble in an otherwise captivating story.

A charming look at the lives of little ones, all fortunate to be cherished and cared for by loving adults. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4510-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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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Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits.

PLANTS FEED ME

This simplest of informational picture books offers a sensible, sunny celebration of the plants—specifically the parts of plants—that we eat.

The opening scene shows a boy seated at table surrounded by a rich harvest. He’s holding a watermelon rind that mirrors the wide grin he wears, helping to set the good-natured tone of the book. As preschoolers examine the pages, they will learn about the featured fruits and vegetables and how they grew. Warm gouache-and–colored-pencil illustrations first depict a garden where “Plants reach up for the sun. / They grow down in the ground.” As the narrator goes on to explain that “I eat different parts from different plants,” such as roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, flowers and seeds, youngsters will find labeled images to peruse. The short, declarative sentences are easily digested by the very youngest and will tempt burgeoning readers to test their skills. Best of all, children will surely be inspired to taste some of the produce the next time it appears on their plates.

Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2526-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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