Younger siblings of the Mercy chapter-book lovers will find their way into the series with this first look, written just for...

A PIGLET NAMED MERCY

To paraphrase an immortal spider, Mercy is some pig.

Mercy Watson, a “small and not at all ordinary” pig, is already the star of six early chapter books, well-known for her love of buttered toast and, of course, of Mr. and Mrs. Watson, the white couple who care for her. But how did Mercy come to live with the Watsons? And how did they discover her love for buttered toast? Written simply for the pre–chapter-book audience, with big, bright, often full-spread illustrations, this picture book offers an introduction to Mercy, “the porcine wonder,” with all the dramatic expressions and gentle humor of the chapter books and some irresistible pig cuteness sprinkled in for extra charm. Vivid colors cause each illustration to pop, with a retro style to the Watsons’ rosy cheeks, classic car, and rather traditional gender roles (Mrs. Watson vacuums, Mr. Watson polishes the car). An unnamed interracial family seen through a window references two characters introduced as school-age children in the fourth installment of the chapter-book series: Frank and Stella, he as a toddler and she as a baby. Since the target audience for this outing will have no familiarity with them, their presence mostly serves to underscore the otherwise all-white human cast.

Younger siblings of the Mercy chapter-book lovers will find their way into the series with this first look, written just for them . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7753-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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