Offering graceful rhymes, this imaginative celebration of fathers and daughters dances across the page.


Four girls wait for their fathers to pick them up from ballet class in this picture book.

Four young ballet dancers with different skin tones, hair colors, and features are all dressed in their leotards and tutus in a performance studio overlooking a rainy city scene. Each is “awaiting a prince from their part of the world,” and the story shifts to the fathers as they travel from their jobs—as a fisherman, train conductor, taxi driver, or briefcase-carrying businessman. Three of the papas have journeys that dovetail: The fisherman takes the train with the conductor, and both get into the taxi driver’s cab. But the last father, after losing his umbrella to the wind, is sidetracked rescuing a dog stranded in a sinkhole. When the three papas arrive at the studio, they dance a waltz with their daughters, and the last girl feels left out and worried. The rest bring her into a group dance, but she sadly leaves the studio—until her father arrives at the last moment. (“And the stars lit a waltz by the sea.”) In this lively and inventive tale, Brown’s rhythmic, dance-centered rhymes focus on the rain and the waltz metaphor, allowing much of the poignant storytelling to happen in the pictures. Tabakh’s beautiful digital illustrations, completed in Procreate, appear hand-drawn, using a painterly style with vivid textures that encourage young readers to pore over the details.

Offering graceful rhymes, this imaginative celebration of fathers and daughters dances across the page.

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73774-474-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: 4 Blank Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2022

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)


A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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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