The frolicking diversion validates a child’s imaginative ability in an engaging bedtime scenario.

LET'S PLAY MONSTERS!

Three-year-old Gabriel encourages various family members to playact monsters in a cavorting game of chase around the house.

Eager to participate, older sib Josie becomes “green and scary, / with sharp, pointy teeth / and feet that are hairy.” Uncle Rufus sprouts imaginary “horns like a cow / and a tail like a pig.” The family pet, Kitty Cat, has “long sharp claws, / all scritchy and scratchy,” and Nonna becomes a “bright-pink jelly / with big round eyes / and feet that are smelly.” While the monsters chase the child, Gabriel easily escapes, chortling “Hee, hee, hee! / But you can’t catch me!” in a continual refrain that kids will easily repeat. The rhyming text is as much fun to recite as the game of chase is to watch. The story unfolds with comforting predictability, Gabriel inviting play on one double-page spread and on the next gleefully running away from the humorously transformed family member. Cousins’ signature, childlike black-outlined drawings in bold primary colors enhance the romp all the way to the last dinosaurlike monster, Mommy, who has spikes on her back and gobbles little boys up. Just as the day is ending, Gabriel is caught and, not surprisingly, becomes his own monster “with a funny green head, / who is tired and sleepy / and ready for bed.” Gabriel, Uncle Rufus, Nonna, and Mommy all present white; Josie is a child of color.

The frolicking diversion validates a child’s imaginative ability in an engaging bedtime scenario. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1060-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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