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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Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Little Nutbrown Hare ventures out into the wide world and comes back with a new companion in this sequel to Guess How Much I Love You (1994).

Big Nutbrown Hare is too busy, so after asking permission, Little Nutbrown Hare scampers off over the rolling meadow to play by himself. After discovering that neither his shadow nor his reflection make satisfactory playmates (“You’re only another me!”), Little Nutbrown comes to Cloudy Mountain…and meets “Someone real!” It’s a white bunny who introduces herself as Tipps. But a wonderful round of digging and building and chasing about reaches an unexpected end with a game of hide-and-seek, because both hares hide! After waiting a long time to be found, Little Nutbrown Hare hops on home in disappointment, wondering whether he’ll ever see Tipps again. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long to find out, since she has followed him. “Now, where on earth did she come from?” wonders Big Nutbrown. “Her name is Tipps,” Little Nutbrown proudly replies, “and she’s my friend.” Jeram’s spacious, pale-toned, naturalistic outdoor scenes create a properly idyllic setting for this cozy development in a tender child-caregiver relationship—which hasn’t lost a bit of its appealing intimacy in the more than 25 years since its first appearance. As in the first, Big Nutbrown Hare is ungendered, facilitating pleasingly flexible readings.

Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1747-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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