Though the specific experiences are not universal, there is an intrinsic appeal to sun, snow, mud, and play that broadens...


Simple, elegant watercolors and rhymed text convey the magic of the seasons and the elements.

A preschool-age child, their family, and their friends illustrate the sights, sounds, smells, and favorite activities they associate with each of the four seasons. The text is poetic but deceptively simple; the rhyme scheme for each of the four segments is the simple cadence of a limerick: “Mud makes me dance in the spring. / I fly up to the sky in my swing. / Let’s poke holes and plant peas / on our wet muddy knees. / In the quince bush, two little birds sing.” There is a lovely economy to the watercolor illustrations, with bold black outlines partially filled in and punctuated with warm sweeps and dabs of color. The images capture the warmth of family life and the richness of seasons shared in outdoor play with friends. Agell portrays the seasons as experienced in coastal New England. Children play in grassy fields, on the beach, or running in the woods, and they live in warm, cozy houses. There is nary a hint of urban existence to be found; while the cast is fairly inclusive (the protagonist child is white, but they interact with children and adults of color), the experience depicted is less so.

Though the specific experiences are not universal, there is an intrinsic appeal to sun, snow, mud, and play that broadens this book’s reach. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-944762-63-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Islandport Press

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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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Ideal for any community where children count.


A difficult concept is simply and strikingly illustrated for the very youngest members of any community, with a counting exercise to boot.

From the opening invitation, “Living in community, / it's a lot of FUN! / Lets count the ways. / Lets start with ONE,” Nagaro shows an urban community that is multicultural, supportive, and happy—exactly like the neighborhoods that many families choose to live and raise their children in. Text on every other page rhymes unobtrusively. Unlike the vocabulary found in A Is for Activist (2013), this book’s is entirely age-appropriate (though some parents might not agree that picketing is a way to show “that we care”). In A Is for Activist, a cat was hidden on each page; this time, finding the duck is the game. Counting is almost peripheral to the message. On the page with “Seven bikes and scooters and helmets to share,” identifying toys in an artistic heap is confusing. There is only one helmet for five toys, unless you count the second helmet worn by the girl riding a scooter—but then there are eight items, not seven. Seven helmets and seven toys would have been clearer. That quibble aside, Nagara's graphic design skills are evident, with deep colors, interesting angles, and strong lines, in a mix of digital collage and ink.

Ideal for any community where children count. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60980-632-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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