Pure fun; readers and preschoolers will applaud both the silliness and practicalities presented.

NOT NOW, COW

Animal friends on the farm are ready to enjoy the pleasures of each new season—but Cow displays confusion over what is expected.

In a double-page spread before the title page, an excited Rooster crows, “SPRING IS ALMOST HERE!” Spring is announced immediately after the title page, and readers see Duck watering her newly emerged sprouts, Sheep flying a kite, and Goat enjoying the spring showers. Cow, however, appears dressed in mittens, a heavy scarf, and hat. “Oh Cow. Not now,” says Rooster. Summer arrives, and with it swimming, beach play, and ice cream cones, but Cow is ready with a sled, snow boots, and heavy sweater. And again Rooster tells her, “Oh Cow. Not now.” Amusing illustrations in bold colors reflect each season’s attributes while the succinct and simple rhyming text details the animals’ activities. The fall scenario shows orange and brown leaves falling with Horse raking, Chick munching on an apple, and Sheep carving a pumpkin: “Horse is ready. / Builds a pile. / Chick is ready. / Snacks awhile. // Sheep is ready. / Adds a smile.” But a parka-clad Cow is set on skiing. Rooster: “Oh, Cow. Just…wow.” When, in winter, Cow shows up in a bathing suit and flippers, her exasperated friends finally tell her, “We need to talk.” Readers might wonder whether Cow is just innocently clueless or expressing her individualism. Kids will nevertheless be eager to repeat the refrain, the predictable structure of the page turns and pacing expertly cuing them. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 61.9% of actual size.)

Pure fun; readers and preschoolers will applaud both the silliness and practicalities presented. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4629-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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