THE LONGEST STORM

A parent, three children, and a dog weather a crisis together.

“A storm came to our town.” Autumn leaves swirl and a child swings from a tire on a tree, yet overhead looms a huge dark cloud. “We were going to have to stay inside, maybe for a long while.” It’s not easy. “There was nothing to do and too much time to do it.” There are moments of chaos: bathtub puddles and dog-chewed shoes. Each person looks unhappy, bored, frustrated, angry. Shockingly, the adult totally loses it. Yet when there’s an enormous flash of lightning (“the whole house shook”) everyone cuddles together, and afterward “things started to get better, a little every day.” The family appears White. Yaccarino’s bold lines and fluid figures against swaths of solid color and his use of shading and shadow are splendid. Outside the windows rain comes down at an angle. Inside there is the yellow glow of a lamp or blue of darkness and the harmony—or momentary clash—of family activity. Sun and blue sky finally make their appearance, and the family is seen in the yard picking up scattered leaves and sticks together, a reminder that the storm didn’t leave things unchanged or unscathed. The story feels emotionally true to the process of going through any profound crisis: a pandemic, death, divorce, or the prolonged absence of a parent who is deployed, a first responder, or battling an illness.

Resonant and reassuring. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-6626-5047-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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?

A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more