Beautifully controlled pacing and an immensely satisfying rainbow resolution make this book an effective refutation of...

WAIT

A mother struggles to get her curious little boy to their morning train.

Flat illustrations and matte digital coloring evoke the two-dimensional, strategic thinking she needs to successfully advance her morning commute. Heavy charcoal linework and thick outlines offer broad, vivid projections of the friendly people, animals, and city scenes that greet the boy and his mother on their walk, as well as the child's strong desire to investigate and the mother's urgent need to make the train. She steers insistently headlong up the road as he zigzags and doubles back to points of interest: a waving workman, bubbling tropical fish, a butterfly, hungry ducks. Back and forth and with each page turn, the two call to each other, "Hurry" and "Wait." Sheepish grown-ups will see themselves in the mother, with her eyes and body angled away from the boy, and children will grin at this book's implicit validation of young people's desire to meander. Panoramic double-page spreads describe their movements toward the station, where the mother finally shouts out a bigger “hurry,” and large raindrops begin to fall. Just as the train boards, the boy stops dead in his tracks, seeing something in the sky that just demands a moment to enjoy. Finally, his mother agrees, scoops him up, and marvels.

Beautifully controlled pacing and an immensely satisfying rainbow resolution make this book an effective refutation of frenzied schedules. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59643-921-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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