Excellent for stimulating creative-thinking, art, and writing activities.

INSIDE CAT

A cat gazes in wonderment at the world outside.

Wide-eyed, blue-collared, brown-and-black Inside Cat (who looks like a sinuous set of scribbles with pointy ears and large, googly eyes) peers from numerous windows in its large city dwelling. What sights there are to behold as Inside Cat leisurely, repeatedly “Wanders. Wonders” around, looking out of windows square, round, thin, wide, and otherwise diverse in shape, size, color, and/or spatial arrangement. From assorted vantage points, Inside Cat views fascinating people, objects, creatures, and activities. If Inside Cat has only a partial understanding of what it sees (“fluffy rats” are squirrels; “roaring flies” are helicopters), it fills in the scenes with imaginary details that, delightfully, appear in pale lines on the white interior walls surrounding the windows. Inside Cat explores the world via window on every floor of its house so regularly that it knows all there is to know about the world inside and out. But…don’t be surprised when the final, full-color page leaves you breathless—as it does our protagonist; one wonders why this feline remained indoors so long. This delicious charmer, told in simple, rhythmically lilting verse as light-footed as a cat, develops vocabulary and reinforces basic concepts like shape and size, directional and spatial relationships. The wonderful, loose illustrations were created with mixed media, each employed expertly to delineate the varied perspectives presented all at one time.

Excellent for stimulating creative-thinking, art, and writing activities. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7319-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

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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