Here’s hoping there will be more adventures with Nelly and her family.


From the Llama Llama series

Fans of the Llama Llama series can rejoice—best-selling author Dewdney is back with another one, this time featuring Nelly Gnu and her ever helpful daddy.

Having made her first appearance in Llama Llama, Time to Share (2012), Nelly is back and quite industrious as she and her father work together to build a playhouse. Rhyming couplets cheerily describe the activity: “A great big box, some tape and string— / Daddy can make anything! // First they measure. Then they draw. / Nelly tapes, and Daddy saws.” As the project takes shape, Nelly decides that the playhouse needs some decorating. Off the pair goes to get paint and brushes at the store. Nelly laughs as she rides high on Daddy’s shoulders, and she is amazed at all the colors of paint she sees on the shelves. Amid the hustle and bustle, Nelly suddenly loses sight of her father and has a moment of panic. The full-bleed spread of Nelly alone in a sea of shoppers, viewed from above, brings emotional heft to the otherwise innocuous preschool story. But the page turn reveals Nelly in close-up, being embraced by the two strong arms of her dad. All ends well as they complete their special day painting “the house with brick designs. / Big bright flowers, climbing vines.” Dewdney clearly knows her audience and delivers an engaging story illustrated with a rainbow of vibrant hues that preschoolers will love.

Here’s hoping there will be more adventures with Nelly and her family. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-670-01227-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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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 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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