SNOWY RACE

A young child rides along in the snowplow to complete a very special errand.

Chronicling the breathless moment when a child will “finally get to help!” and be included in the adult world of work, a child protagonist (with car seat!) loads into Dad’s oversized plow truck to zoom off through a snowstorm. Conveyed in expressive couplets, the well-paced rhymes admirably evoke a sense of urgency about their trip and vividly paint a scene of the worsening wintry weather: “Frosty crystals chase and spin. / Snowplow shifts and tunnels in.” When the pair finally reaches their destination, readers see what made this particular journey so important—it’s Mom waiting for them at the train station! Swift, impressionistic sketches filled with soft pastel-hued washes create pastoral snowy scenes that contrast with the warmer, more saturated domestic scenes and with the thick-lined, cherry-red snowplow. Long, layered smears of white create a satisfying illusion of a blizzard, and Davenier utilizes various interesting perspectives, such as the view into the snowy woods from behind the windshield. Gender is handled refreshingly here, with Dad capably handling child care and chores, and while the flap copy refers to the child as female, the long-haired child appears in neutral primary colors, and bedroom decor includes trucks and elephants, with nary a pink toy in sight. All three family members have pale skin, Dad with brown hair and Mom and child with straight, black hair.

A winning winter race. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4141-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Inspiring, if all these pinkie promises don’t get in the way.

PINKIE PROMISES

Lately, everyone seems intent on telling Polly what girls can’t do.

Whether it’s fixing a leak, building a model drawbridge, or washing a car, it seems like the world thinks that girls aren’t able to do anything. Polly is discouraged until she goes to a political rally with her mother. There, the two meet a White woman named Elizabeth (recognizably author Warren in Chua’s friendly illustrations) who’s running for president. She tells Polly that she is running because that’s what girls do: They lead. Polly and Elizabeth make a pinky promise to remember this truth. Polly decides that being a girl can’t prevent her from doing whatever she wants. Even though she’s a bit intimidated at attending a brand-new school, Polly decides to be brave—because that’s what girls do, and she makes a pinkie promise with her mom. At soccer, she’s under pressure to score the winning goal. She makes a pinkie promise with her coach to do her best, because that’s what girls do. And so on. By the end of the book, Polly ignores what she’s been told that girls can’t do and totally focuses on what they can do: absolutely anything they want. In the illustrations, Polly and her family have dark skin and straight, dark hair. The narrative is inspiring and child friendly, although the constant return to making pinkie promises feels like a distraction from the central message. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Inspiring, if all these pinkie promises don’t get in the way. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-80102-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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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