An exuberant celebration of family.

NOW THAT I'M HERE

A mixed-race child reflects on how much better Mom's and Dad’s lives are “now that I’m here.”

The irrepressible (“HA! HA! HA!”) narrator of this story—a dark-haired, pink-skinned, wide-eyed child—paints a vivid picture of daily life then and now. Readers will appreciate the stark contrasts drawn in two-page spreads (see: Mom and Dad sleeping peacefully with a rotund gray pug; now see: Mom, Dad, and dog fighting for space in a rumpled bed awash with toys, a gleeful child draped over them all). Meshon’s use of color, juxtaposing blues and greens for life then and reds and oranges for life now, further conveys the drastic changes wrought by the child. Bold, hand-lettered, capitalized text adds clarity and humor. It doesn’t always work: It may not be entirely clear to readers why Mom and Dad no longer buy lunch (but their bento boxes do look “way better”!), and some of the pre-child pages still feel a bit busy. The chaotic love and joy of this family shine through, though, and the depiction of the family’s blended culture is natural and seamless. Dad, with pale skin, light brown hair, and his croissant, espresso, and spaghetti, reads as white; Mom, with light skin, black hair, and her natto, matcha, and ramen, appears to be Japanese.

An exuberant celebration of family. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2936-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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 visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

ONE FAMILY

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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