TURTLE WALK

A family of turtles celebrates four seasons with a long walk around its small world.

On the first page, a bright green turtle with a jaunty head decoration, perhaps a leaf or blade of grass, observes two bright butterflies in the sunlight outside a cave. Sleepy turtles—perhaps inside the cave—wake up on the title page. The simple, rhyming text uses very few words. A repeated refrain, “Turtle walk. Nice and slow. / Here we go,” accompanies the little group of four on its journey beginning at the pond by the cave, across a stream, and through a field of flowers. They huddle in spring rain under a daffodil, walk past sunflowers and children on a sunlit playground; they watch fireflies in the dark. A repeated call and response (“Are we there yet?”/ “No”) familiar to traveling families follows the refrain throughout. Phelan’s artwork is lively and visually bright, with rich colors and impressionistic lines; the flat faces of the turtles are expressive, and their round bodies convey personality with a few brush strokes. The turtles pass an apple orchard and a pumpkin patch—including a jack-o’-lantern—as red and yellow leaves begin to fall. The winter return to pond and cave is a spirited, snowy slide. The rhyming text and bright colors will work in toddler storytime as well as for new readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 30.1% of actual size.)

Playful and lighthearted. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293413-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

DIGGERSAURS

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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