A lovely, cousinly twist on the new-baby story

LORETTA'S GIFT

Loretta is excited to find the perfect gift for her new baby cousin.

Loretta’s aunt Esme and uncle Jax are expecting a new baby. Loretta’s mom knits a furry hat, her dad buys a pile of diapers, Uncle Jax builds a cradle, and Aunt Esme fills the nursery with family photos. As the gifts pile up, Loretta realizes she doesn’t have anything to give to the new baby. Even as she frets, Loretta actively takes part in loving and caring for Gabe, till on his first birthday, Aunt Esme assures Loretta that she is the best gift Gabe has ever gotten. Loretta comes to acknowledge that Aunt Esme is right—and that Gabe can never outgrow her love. This warm and affectionate tale will engage readers. Marley’s artwork is whimsically earthy, featuring muted greens and rich browns and weaving in leaves, flowers, and touches of nature as accents. She depicts Loretta, her parents, and Aunt Esme with brown skin and Afro-textured black hair; Uncle Jax has pale skin and straight, brown hair. The important message that quality time is as valuable as gifts bought in a store is familiar and always appreciated. Lovers of Family, by Isabell Monk and illustrated by Janice Lee Porter (2001), and Home in the Rain, by Bob Graham (2017), will enjoy this adorable story featuring a multicultural family.

A lovely, cousinly twist on the new-baby story . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0681-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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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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Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby.

BABY GOES TO MARKET

Baby is so charming that various vendors in this West African market gift him all sorts of yummies.

Baby rides on Mama’s back, held snug by a bright cloth wrap. Mama navigates the busy, colorful outdoor market, her woven basket balanced on her head. The text unrolls rhythmically in Atinuke’s storyteller’s voice: “Market is very crowded. Baby is very curious. Baby is so curious that Mrs. Ade, the banana seller, gives Baby six bananas.” Baby eats one and puts the remaining bananas in Mama’s basket. All the while Mama shops, unbeknownst to her, vendors continue to respond to Baby’s transparent delight with five oranges, four “sugary chin-chin biscuits,” three “roasted sweet corn,” and two pieces of coconut. With each delicacy given, Baby eats one and puts the rest in the basket. When Mama sees all the extra foodstuffs she didn’t buy, she’s concerned, until the vendors reassure her: “We gave those things to Baby!” In her debut picture book, Brooksbank offers bright, bustling tableaux of shoppers, vendors, and goods. The smiling, all-black cast sort through myriad wares, while the text keeps up its rhythm, introducing both typical items bought in a West African market and a gentle lesson in arithmetic as Baby alternately snacks on and stashes his gifts.

Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9570-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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