A pleasant if imperfect celebration of a grandfather-granddaughter relationship and an introduction to the game of golf.

TEA TIME

A day for tea or a day to tee (off)?

Hippopotami Frannie and Grandy, her grandfather, are both preparing for an outing, though each has a different type in mind. Frannie heard tea, so she packs up a picnic lunch, blanket, and tea set. Grandy understood tee, so he collects clubs, balls, shoes, bug spray, and sunblock with the intention of teaching Frannie how to play golf. The mutual misconception continues until the warmly illustrated duo arrive at the golf course and Frannie rushes to a green to spread out her blanket and meal, which is demolished by a driven ball. Unperturbed, the two seamlessly change things up and simply go to the clubhouse for tea and continue their afternoon with a game of minigolf, which Frannie comes to love. Readers are left to their own devices to figure out the mix-up, as there is no obvious moment of recognition by either Frannie or Grandy of their miscommunication, which seems a lost opportunity to introduce at least the idea of homonyms. Moreover, readers don’t get to see Grandy switching gears, which could have added some humor. Still the pair’s loving companionship rings true, and young readers may enjoy figuring out the problem themselves (perhaps with some help). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pleasant if imperfect celebration of a grandfather-granddaughter relationship and an introduction to the game of golf. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4108-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more