Lush illustrations and lulling, playful verse create a warm and wonderful bedtime hug.

AS BABIES DREAM

A bedtime story bursting with strong, quiet love.

Hinting at a stunning sunset, illustrations in deeply vibrant, softly dappled oranges, reds, and purples begin this gentle nighttime story of animal parents and offspring settling in for a night’s rest. The text on each page follows a soothing pattern but also plays with both internal and end rhymes for an added treat. “As the crows fly / and the rivers flow, // As the eagles cry / and the winds blow,” the book opens. Later: “As the rabbits hop / and the owls call, // As the leaves drop / and the rains fall,” it continues pages later, still the same sentence. Young listeners are introduced to several birds, farm animals, and woodland mammals as well as frogs, turtles, and snakes. (There’s also a lion family, quite out of place but useful for the rhyme.) By the end of the story, it is now a starry moonlit night illustrated in dark reds, purples, and blues, and readers have moved from wildlife to city life, with the sentence finally concluding: “As the stars gleam / high above, // the babies dream / safe in our love.” The final image frames five different families in urban windows glowing with that love. The illustration suggests both family and racial diversity and includes what appear to be single-parent, two-parent, same-gender, and multigenerational families of White, Asian, and Black origin. In one family, the father wears a kippah. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Lush illustrations and lulling, playful verse create a warm and wonderful bedtime hug. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3681-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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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 good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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