Faux pas aside, it’s a sweet celebration of leaving baby days behind.

NOW I'M BIG!

There’s a lot to like in this book about all things “big kid.”

The first-person voice seamlessly shifts from one spread to another, attributing itself to characters of different races and genders. A pattern emerges through page design that shows a baby on the verso with text starting “When I was a baby…” and an older child on the recto with text reading “NOW I’M BIG” and expounding on how he or she can now do things that were impossible during babyhood. Katz’s signature, colorful, stylized characters rendered in watercolor and gouache romp through the pages, culminating with a little girl reveling in her new status as big sister to the new baby in her family. Earlier, one scene showing a baby in a playpen (who grows up to run around the park with friends) might seem a bit dated given rising concerns about the safety of such baby gear, but the real safety no-no comes at book’s end when the aforementioned big sister jumps on her bed while holding the tiny new baby by the arms. It’s a joyful scene, to be sure, but the sight of a teddy bear falling off the bed as the sisters spring up and down bespeaks a doubtlessly unintended sense of peril in this otherwise gentle book.

Faux pas aside, it’s a sweet celebration of leaving baby days behind. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4169-3547-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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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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Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits.

PLANTS FEED ME

This simplest of informational picture books offers a sensible, sunny celebration of the plants—specifically the parts of plants—that we eat.

The opening scene shows a boy seated at table surrounded by a rich harvest. He’s holding a watermelon rind that mirrors the wide grin he wears, helping to set the good-natured tone of the book. As preschoolers examine the pages, they will learn about the featured fruits and vegetables and how they grew. Warm gouache-and–colored-pencil illustrations first depict a garden where “Plants reach up for the sun. / They grow down in the ground.” As the narrator goes on to explain that “I eat different parts from different plants,” such as roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, flowers and seeds, youngsters will find labeled images to peruse. The short, declarative sentences are easily digested by the very youngest and will tempt burgeoning readers to test their skills. Best of all, children will surely be inspired to taste some of the produce the next time it appears on their plates.

Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2526-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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