A rowdy, raucous return for Niño and a dazzling debut for his most worthy rivals.

RUDAS

NIÑO'S HORRENDOUS HERMANITAS

Pint-sized luchador Niño captured readers’ imaginations in the Pura Belpré Award–winning title Niño Wrestles the World (2014). Now he is back, but this time his baby sisters, Las Hermanitas, have come to steal the show.

Childlike drawings on the opening endpapers explain that luchadores are divided into two categories: técnicos (good guys) and rudos (bad guys). Las Hermanitas are definitely rudas. Niño is playing with some familiar characters, El Extraterrestre and La Llorona, when Las Hermanitas burst onto the scene and the rumble begins. They take on their opponents one by one and use whatever rotten means necessary to crush the competition, starting right off with a move called the Poopy Bomb Blowout. The action and humor continue until only Niño can bring an end to his little sisters’ destruction. This follow-up uses the same playful, graphic illustration style and vibrant color palette seen in the original. Several Spanish words and phrases appear in the callouts and speech bubbles, many of which are defined in the closing endpaper illustrations. The English text is peppered with alliteration, onomatopoeia, and a few words that will stretch young readers’ growing vocabulary (such as “phenomenal” and “preposterous”). The overall effect is a narrative that begs to be read aloud.

A rowdy, raucous return for Niño and a dazzling debut for his most worthy rivals. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-240-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Gorgeous, shimmering, heartfelt.

I SANG YOU DOWN FROM THE STARS

Anticipation, pregnancy, and the birth of a baby are celebrated in this story from Spillett-Sumner (Inniniwak) and Caldecott medalist Goade (Tlingit).

When a baby chooses its mother, special gatherings of family and community are held to prepare for the child’s arrival. Sacred items are collected and placed in a medicine bundle to be given to the baby at birth. These items will keep the growing child’s connection to their identity strong. Spillett-Sumner’s lyrical text begins as an Indigenous mother plans the journey with her unborn child. “Before I held you in my arms, I sang you down from the stars.” When she finds a white eagle plume, it becomes “the first gift in a bundle that will be yours.” The young mother finds more items for her child’s bundle: cedar, sage, a “star blanket,” and a special river stone “so that you always remember that you belong to this place.” The baby arrives in the spring, “with the waters that come when the ice breaks and the rivers flow again.” Goade uses a white “swoosh” of stars throughout the illustrations to intertwine traditional origin stories with a family’s experience of “love and joy” upon the arrival of the new baby, in scenes that pulse with both emotions. Author and illustrator each contribute a note describing how they drew upon their respective cultural traditions to inform their work, which will open the book up to a wide range of readers.

Gorgeous, shimmering, heartfelt. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49316-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

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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