The sense of wonder and awe this artistic board book evokes should not be limited to the Christmas season.

LITTLE CHRISTMAS TREE

The old-fashioned feel of this extra-large board book invites exploration of the natural world.

Four-line rhyming stanzas on each spread describe the winter woods. In the first, “A little Christmas tree wakes up / and sparkles in the light.” The tree is never harvested; its only decorations are snow and birds. The sequence of events may confuse young children. Initially, the pictures are full of snow. By the third spread, the text and illustration hint at an early spring thaw, but on the next page snow starts to fall again, just in time for “this snowy Christmas night.” The book is pretty enough that this may not matter. Silver foil “snow” on the tree and snowflakes that decorate the otherwise matte pages invite touch. Finding the animals, bugs, and plants hinted at in the text becomes a lift-the-flap game, with most spreads including four flaps. Some are obvious; some blend in with the illustrations so effectively that the flaps can only be found by running a hand across the page. Some of the flaps are also quite small, making them difficult for tiny fingers to manipulate, but overall it is ideal for one-on-one reading and quiet conversation.

The sense of wonder and awe this artistic board book evokes should not be limited to the Christmas season. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0311-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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