BIG BAD BUNNY

Opening with a point-counterpoint exchange, readers first meet terrifying Big Bad Bunny then see the nurturing Mouse House where Mama’s going through comforting naptime rituals with her children. Visual and textual contrapositions build exquisitely till Mama discovers Baby Boo-Boo missing from her wee bed (“EEK!”) and sets off determinedly to find her. Midway through the story comes the big reveal: Big Bad Bunny is in fact Baby Boo-Boo clad in bunny-wear. Mama leads the lost toddler safely home with assurances of love. The narrative structure includes three repetitive treks through river, swamp and bushes, including swell sound effects. Karas’s Big Bad Bunny, depicted with fearsome Groucho-like eyebrows, yellow fangs, pink polka-dotted pajamas and bunny slippers, is both scary and cute. This books works on every level: narrative arc, patterning, graphic-design elements (cue delighted dramatic reader), pacing, illustrations that express the comic mood and natural movement of the story. Underlying the sly fun is a Mama who knows her stuff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 25, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-0601-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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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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JAZZ BABY

A snappy rhyming text celebrates an extended family’s joyous gyrations to the jazz spinning on the turntable. From waking to sleep, Baby’s right in the thick of it, as siblings, grandparents and cousins move and groove: “So they BOOM-BOOM-BOOM / and they HIP-HIP-HOP / and the bouncin’ baby boogies with a BOP-BOP-BOP.” Wheeler’s verse scans beautifully and begs to be read aloud—danced to, even—making this a fine choice for preschool and kindergarten story times. Christie’s bold, double-paged gouache compositions locate this colorfully garbed, expressively hip family within an equally vibrant community. As Baby’s big dark eyes get glassy with fatigue, the party winds down. “Daddy sings blues. / Mama sings sweet. / While that snoozy-woozy baby . . . / . . . sleeps deep, deep, deep.” Exultant and infectious, from the red-and-yellow-striped endpapers to the final “OH YEAH!” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-202522-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2007

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