Some things just can’t be done in a book; a three-dimensional toy with similar fastenings will serve the audience better.

ZIP IT!

A FIRST BOOK OF FASTENERS

From the My Little World series

A novelty book with a clever concept struggles to overcome the challenges of execution.

The zipper on the cover seen through a bright green frog's die-cut mouth raises expectations of delight, but the zipper is too short to fully unzip, making it an unsatisfying complement to the text (“See it shut, then open wide”). Subsequent pages offer a button that fastens a pig’s snout, a duck's Velcro-flap wing, kitty's snappy collar, and mouse tails that tie in a bow; all have similar problems. They are too fragile to stand up to rough handling, too stiff to manipulate easily, and beyond both the skills and patience of the low end of the suggested audience, “Age 3 and up.” The diagrammed directions on each spread are helpful only to adults who already know how to zip, button, or snap. A mouse on the page about tying a bow admits the difficulty, saying “You might need an adult to help you here.” One strong pull of the strings is liable to tear the page. Young children will enjoy mimicking the animal sounds and lifting the duck's wing, but the rest of the book will just be frustrating. Although the pages are thick, the spine is hollow and will likely be quickly damaged.

Some things just can’t be done in a book; a three-dimensional toy with similar fastenings will serve the audience better. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58925-554-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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