THE SHAPE FAMILY BABIES

Newlyweds Rectangle and Rhombus are surprised when their first child turns out to be triplets.

Two are the spitting images of their parents and are easily named: Rhombus Jr. and Rectangle Jr. But the third is a bit of a puzzle. What will they name this little girl, who has four right angles like her dad and four equal sides like her mom? While the parents spend pages asking their relatives for advice and rejecting their suggestions—some accurate (Polygon, Parallelogram, Quadrangle, Quadrilateral), some far-fetched (Rectombus, Rhombangle)—even the youngest readers will be screaming “SQUARE” at the thick-headed characters. Finally, Great-Aunt Octagon arrives and sees the girl’s resemblance to Great-Great-Grandpa Square. An intended audience is difficult to pin down, as the advanced vocabulary introduced skews this to a slightly older audience, who may not appreciate either the vapid storyline or the unimaginative digital pictures featuring what are largely stick figures with large, round heads atop variously shaped torsos. A “For Creative Minds” section in the backmatter gives even more advanced information, including angle measures and names, the concepts of perpendicular and parallel, the names and definitions of several quadrilaterals, and a matching activity that challenges readers to match the shape character with his or her description: “This shape is made of three angles and three lines.”

An easy one to skip. (Math picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62855-211-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sylvan Dell

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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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 comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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