Will strike a chord in many a family.

WHEN I'M BIGGER, MAMA BEAR

From the Mama and Bella Bear series

Bella Bear wants to stir soup and cut bread, but Mama Bear must prevent her from doing these and other dangerous adult tasks.

Mama Bear tries to distract her precocious tot with a trip to the supermarket. Soon Bella’s racing on her tricycle and proclaiming herself ready for a two-wheeler. At the market, Bella fills her own cart with groceries, Mama worriedly eyeing the growing pile. Then Bella does something even more problematic. After seeing chocolate cookies on the top shelf (and knowing Mama’s penchant for chocolate), the cub decides to climb up for a box. Bella manages to reach the cookies—but suddenly Bella is scared and needs her mother’s help, because she is quite small, after all. It’s a good thing Mama is so tall. When they get home safely, the mother and daughter discuss the reality that while it’s good to be big, being small has its advantages, and Bella finally gets the message. The two brown bears of different shades and sizes have a textured look and bold outlines that make them stand out against mostly solid-colored backgrounds. They wear aprons in the house, and their cartoony features are appealing. Their familial love is heartfelt, and the rhyming story conveys a message that young children will easily relate to in a pre-K classroom, library storytime, or a family setting. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 30.3% of actual size.)

Will strike a chord in many a family. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-30580-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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