Unsparingly compassionate; an excellent addition to the collection of books about separation and divorce.

WEEKEND DAD

A child's narration captures the confusion and sorrow that children of separated and divorced parents can feel.

Dad and mom have separated or perhaps even divorced, resulting in some life-altering changes. The redheaded child narrator has dad on the mind all week after Dad moves out on Monday. But on Friday night, it is time to say goodbye to Mom and visit Dad’s new apartment: “My dad says I have two homes now.” Accustomed to a home once shared with both parents (all three family members have pale skin), the child feels scared on the first night in dad’s apartment and wanders into his room to watch him sleep, wondering if even grown-ups get scared too. The story captures little moments that have big meaning—the tender kiss Mom gives the child when leaving to stay with Dad for the first time; Dad’s wide eyes as he picks up his kid at what used to be his own home; the child leaving a favorite stuffed animal with Dad so that he won’t feel alone; and a poignant letter the father leaves with the child, an abridged version of one the author’s own father once wrote to her. With characteristically stylized, offbeat visuals, Viva’s illustrations capture the abundant emotional subtext with simple but effective lines.

(This book releases first as a digital edition, with print release currently scheduled for Aug. 4, 2020.)

Unsparingly compassionate; an excellent addition to the collection of books about separation and divorce. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77306-108-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Inspiring, if all these pinkie promises don’t get in the way.

PINKIE PROMISES

Lately, everyone seems intent on telling Polly what girls can’t do.

Whether it’s fixing a leak, building a model drawbridge, or washing a car, it seems like the world thinks that girls aren’t able to do anything. Polly is discouraged until she goes to a political rally with her mother. There, the two meet a White woman named Elizabeth (recognizably author Warren in Chua’s friendly illustrations) who’s running for president. She tells Polly that she is running because that’s what girls do: They lead. Polly and Elizabeth make a pinky promise to remember this truth. Polly decides that being a girl can’t prevent her from doing whatever she wants. Even though she’s a bit intimidated at attending a brand-new school, Polly decides to be brave—because that’s what girls do, and she makes a pinkie promise with her mom. At soccer, she’s under pressure to score the winning goal. She makes a pinkie promise with her coach to do her best, because that’s what girls do. And so on. By the end of the book, Polly ignores what she’s been told that girls can’t do and totally focuses on what they can do: absolutely anything they want. In the illustrations, Polly and her family have dark skin and straight, dark hair. The narrative is inspiring and child friendly, although the constant return to making pinkie promises feels like a distraction from the central message. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Inspiring, if all these pinkie promises don’t get in the way. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-80102-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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