The love is palpable in these pages, and adults and children will surely talk about their own ways of loving after sharing...

I HEART YOU

Adult animals describe how they show their love for their little ones.

From hugging and kissing to singing and snuggling, these are activities that will be familiar to most children, albeit ones that most animals do not engage in. Adorable animals in pastel-colored pencil-and-gouache pictures act out their love for one another. Though gently anthropomorphized in behavior, these animals are otherwise depicted realistically, unclothed and in nature. “I hide you. / I tease you. // I find you. / I squeeze you,” is depicted with adult-child foxes playing hide-and-seek. Though not all the “verbs” are action words per se, children will have no trouble understanding when the picture shows an adult bear running after a cub, then that same duo hugging in the grass while the text reads “I chase you. / I slow you.” A turn of the page shows the cub on the grown bear’s back reaching for apples in a tree: “I lift you. / I grow you.” Not all are as easy as this, though, as with the two swallows that “sway” and “swing” while flying. The final spreads go from a fawn’s shy meeting with a young child in a blue dress to that child and an adult woman holding and loving each other. Both have brown hair and are white.

The love is palpable in these pages, and adults and children will surely talk about their own ways of loving after sharing this. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8895-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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 to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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