In a structured, overstimulated world, downtime needs to be appreciated, and this small amphibian shows the way.

THERE'S NOTHING TO DO!

Petty and Boldt’s young frog often has plenty to gripe about (I Don’t Want to Be Big, 2016, etc.); this time, he is bored.

It is a whine that no caregiver can ever escape: “There’s nothing to do!” A bespectacled older frog asks, “You can’t think of anything?” Full of childhood angst—sprawled out on the floor in despair—the small frog answers, “I can think of lots of things… / buuuuut I don’t want to do any of them.” After naysaying all possibilities, even the ever popular “then clean your room,” the frog decides to ask some friends for advice. Rabbit really likes to hop in circles and then stare into space. Cat suggests licking in between toes, and Owl thinks sleeping is the best idea. Pig helpfully unfurls a list of “Pig’s Fantastic List of Things to Do When He Doesn’t Know What to Do.” Unfortunately, nothing on the list is very fantastic. Boldt’s putty-mouthed frog is the picture of boredom and dejection, finally brightening at the yogic realization that sometimes doing nothing, just being in the moment, is better than anything. This is a lesson well-learned, except when school is the next day and the young frog happily wants to do…nothing (oops).

In a structured, overstimulated world, downtime needs to be appreciated, and this small amphibian shows the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55803-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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 reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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