Superbly splashy, immersive, and effervescent.

BUBBLES…UP!

A swimming pool and a young swimmer create watery magic together.

Davies’ lighthearted, lively bit of poetry describes the singular joy of an afternoon at the neighborhood pool in this celebration of underwater swimming and splashing. “PLUNGE! / under / under / under,” reads the text as a child with black hair and light brown skin and a colorfully striped one-piece bathing suit dives and floats and soars underwater. “Bubbles…UP!” A younger, lighter-skinned little person wearing floaties and orange swim trunks stays by the poolside with an adult while a crowd of children with many different hair types and colors of skin splashes and shouts in the pool. Sánchez’s illustrations capture the way sunlight ripples through water over blue-patterned tiles and convey the blissful freedom of weightlessness, diving to the bottom of an imaginary ocean world and rocketing to the top amid bubbles. A brief thundershower clears the pool, and everyone huddles near the snack bar—but when the all-clear sounds, it’s back to the water. There’s a dramatic rescue of a rubber duck: “You are fast…/ —aqueous— / A watery dolphin, all flash and fin.” There’s cuddling—for a moment—in a towel after, and then back to the water, where the smaller child joins in the fun at last. The exuberant sense of being purely in the moment is delightful. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 19% of actual size.)

Superbly splashy, immersive, and effervescent. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-283661-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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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 fresh take on an enduring theme.

MOST PERFECT YOU

When Irie tells her momma she hates her big poofy hair, her momma explains that everything about Irie was perfectly custom made.

Irie wants her hair to swing and bounce like the “pretty hair” that “everyone else” has. But Momma tells her that she didn’t make Irie to be like everyone else. “I made you to be you.” Momma explains that when she was expecting Irie, she talked to God and made special requests. Out of all the skin tones in the world, Momma chose her favorite for Irie. The same for her hair type, her sparkling eyes, her kissable nose, and her bright smile. Momma also chose a good heart for Irie, and when she was born, she was perfect, and as she grew, she was kind. When Momma tells her “you are all of my favorite things,” Irie runs to the mirror and sees herself with new eyes: a “most perfect me.” This sweet, imaginative tale highlights the importance of parental love in boosting children’s self-esteem and will be a touching read-aloud for families who have struggled with issues of fitting in. The story is a challenging one to illustrate; the full-color digital art is warm with soft shades of natural-looking color but struggles to create engaging scenes to accompany Momma’s explanation of her conversation with God. The multiple spreads showing Irie and Momma flying through the atmosphere among clouds, stars, and hearts become a bit monotonous and lack depth of expression. Characters are Black. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fresh take on an enduring theme. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-42694-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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