It’s sweet, but it does not reflect the diverse realities of families and people in the world today.

LOVE YOU ALWAYS

The latest new-baby gift book tells how children are loved by their family members no matter what.

Gentle rhyming verses with a nice rhythm and repetition are great for reading aloud, though they can be a bit treacly: “You can giggle, cry, or pout, / but you are loved without a doubt, / upside-down and inside-out! / Mama loves you always.” These verses spend some more time on Mama and Daddy before devoting shorter space to Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, Uncle, Cousin, and Family Friend, (leaving out siblings), covering all the bases but only for those families that fit the “traditional” nuclear-family mold; these days they are increasingly rare. In a move that may be frustrating to readers, many of Flint’s watercolor, crayon, ink, and digital illustrations, especially at the beginning, don’t show the adorable, pink-cheeked tots interacting with their family members. Instead, they are engaging in an activity, usually alone, in a vignette against a white background. This also serves to point up the lack of diversity in the characters; the vast majority of the children and adults pictured here are white; just two children are black, and one other has brown skin and black hair. (By and large clothing is also stereotyped blue and pink.)

It’s sweet, but it does not reflect the diverse realities of families and people in the world today. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8249-5686-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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