Designed for all kinds of children in all kinds of families, this will be particularly welcome in adoptive and...

WHAT MAKES A BABY

A sex educator and an artist with a graphics background craft an unusually flexible explanation of baby-making for sharing with young children.

Silverberg’s text and Smyth’s inclusive illustrations work together not only to answer questions about where babies come from, but also to provide an opportunity for caregivers to share as much or as little about that particular child’s history as they want. Eggs and sperm come together to share their stories, there’s a uterus to grow in, people waiting for the child’s birth and two possible ways to exit (through the vagina or through a temporary opening in the belly). The narrative leaves lots of room for child listeners to see their own stories, and it even invites conversation. “Who was waiting for you to be born?” Lively illustrations done with heavy lines inked in a cartoon style make extensive use of color à la Todd Parr. They feature children and adults of strikingly varying ages, skin colors (lots of greens, blues and purples, some grays, pinks and oranges) and apparent abilities or disabilities. This book was born as a Kickstarter project and self-published, first, in 2012.

Designed for all kinds of children in all kinds of families, this will be particularly welcome in adoptive and nontraditional families but is, uniquely, an appealing and informative complement to early sex-education discussions with any child. (Informational picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60980-485-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Seven Stories

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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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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Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits.

PLANTS FEED ME

This simplest of informational picture books offers a sensible, sunny celebration of the plants—specifically the parts of plants—that we eat.

The opening scene shows a boy seated at table surrounded by a rich harvest. He’s holding a watermelon rind that mirrors the wide grin he wears, helping to set the good-natured tone of the book. As preschoolers examine the pages, they will learn about the featured fruits and vegetables and how they grew. Warm gouache-and–colored-pencil illustrations first depict a garden where “Plants reach up for the sun. / They grow down in the ground.” As the narrator goes on to explain that “I eat different parts from different plants,” such as roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, flowers and seeds, youngsters will find labeled images to peruse. The short, declarative sentences are easily digested by the very youngest and will tempt burgeoning readers to test their skills. Best of all, children will surely be inspired to taste some of the produce the next time it appears on their plates.

Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2526-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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