Not all readers will be convinced by the two birds’ swift rapprochement, but little sisters everywhere will be pleased by...

HOOT AND PEEP

From the Hoot and Peep series

An older brother learns a lesson about creativity and communication from his younger sister in this picture book set around Notre Dame de Paris.

Hoot, an owl, looks forward to spending time with his sister, Peep. Puffed up with a sense of his own importance, Hoot can’t wait to pass along his “owly wisdom.” Peep, on the other hand, is fascinated and inspired by her surroundings and expresses herself in a variety of un-owly ways that reflect the sounds around her—bongs, coos, whistles, and lapping water. Frustrated, Hoot rejects Peep’s creative, vaguely bebop vocalizations, prompting Peep to fly off alone. A somewhat facile change of heart brings the siblings together again to swoop and sing through the starlit night. The cartoony style of the characters, shown with big round eyes and sweet smiles, seems somewhat at odds with the dreamy, romanticized City of Light setting, but it fits well with the jaunty dialogue and cheerful message. The background is particularly lovely, painted in watercolor with some digital enhancements. Shades of blue dominate, providing an attractive counterpoint to the dusky browns and grays of buildings, streets, and gargoyles as well as to the brighter yellow, russet, and gold of the owls.

Not all readers will be convinced by the two birds’ swift rapprochement, but little sisters everywhere will be pleased by Hoot’s about-face, as will iconoclasts of all stripes (or feathers). (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-525-42837-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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