Endearing, engaging, and environmentalist.



A sequel to Billions of Bricks (2016) follows one family’s never-ending tree-planting project.

“We never meant to plant a tree,” says a brown-skinned kid with straight dark hair. Sister Lizzie, apparently White with light brown hair, asked for “a trillium, please,” but the plant store employee misheard her, dooming the siblings and their parents (who look like older versions of Lizzie) to a hopelessly huge arboreal job, planting the first shipment of 1,000 in batches of 100 wherever they can find room. While the narrator first appears oddly disembodied against a white background, the following full-bleed illustrations are detailed and dynamic. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to count 100 trees in a spread, no matter how well the illustrator spaces them out. The text also doesn’t make it totally clear that 10 hundreds add up to make “a thousand” by the end. Rather than a counting exercise, this book might better serve as an introduction to tree types: “Spruce and hemlock. Cedar, too. / A fir for her, a yew for you.” As in Billions, the kids join a multiracial group of neighbors, planting in parks, along roadsides, and even amid the remains of a fire. Turn the book vertically for one spread showing a full-grown sequoia. The rhymes aren’t quite as snappy as the ones in Billions, but they’re still fun. With any luck, the note that “there are more than three trillion trees in the world” will give readers enough of a sense of the 999,999,999,000-tree gap between a thousand and a trillion. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

Endearing, engaging, and environmentalist. (tree facts) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-22907-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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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Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby.


Baby is so charming that various vendors in this West African market gift him all sorts of yummies.

Baby rides on Mama’s back, held snug by a bright cloth wrap. Mama navigates the busy, colorful outdoor market, her woven basket balanced on her head. The text unrolls rhythmically in Atinuke’s storyteller’s voice: “Market is very crowded. Baby is very curious. Baby is so curious that Mrs. Ade, the banana seller, gives Baby six bananas.” Baby eats one and puts the remaining bananas in Mama’s basket. All the while Mama shops, unbeknownst to her, vendors continue to respond to Baby’s transparent delight with five oranges, four “sugary chin-chin biscuits,” three “roasted sweet corn,” and two pieces of coconut. With each delicacy given, Baby eats one and puts the rest in the basket. When Mama sees all the extra foodstuffs she didn’t buy, she’s concerned, until the vendors reassure her: “We gave those things to Baby!” In her debut picture book, Brooksbank offers bright, bustling tableaux of shoppers, vendors, and goods. The smiling, all-black cast sort through myriad wares, while the text keeps up its rhythm, introducing both typical items bought in a West African market and a gentle lesson in arithmetic as Baby alternately snacks on and stashes his gifts.

Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9570-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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