Wrapping up on a comforting note sure to set toddlers’ heads bobbing, this fanciful vision of what happens in the wee hours...

THE WEE HOURS

Children will be tickled to see the wee hours of the morning come to life as irresistible, toddlerlike imps in this whimsical tale.

Wee Hours One through Four, all carefully numbered, arrive one by one in a sleeping child’s bedroom upon their associated clock-strike (youngsters will eagerly search for the clock in each spread to double-check the time). Each mischief-maker pulls a little something from the slumberer’s dreams and incorporates it into playtime: One O’Clock bounces the sun like a ball; Two teaches the birds tricks; Three frees the horses for a jumping contest; Four releases the dinosaurs and leads all the creatures in a parade. All the while, the cat and goldfish look on, but the sleeper is never roused. The text has a cadence that lightly trips along. Luminous pastel illustrations—full-spread, characterized by reassuringly plump, rounded lines and innocently joyful faces, and featuring increasingly free-wheeling, off-kilter perspectives—capture the action. Just when the rumpus seems about to burst right out of the book, Five O’Clock arrives. Like a big brother, he soothes the Wee Hours with stories and back rubs and begins to clean up, aided by Six and Seven O’Clock.

Wrapping up on a comforting note sure to set toddlers’ heads bobbing, this fanciful vision of what happens in the wee hours is the delightful nonsense of dreams. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4038-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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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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Ideal for any community where children count.

COUNTING ON COMMUNITY

A difficult concept is simply and strikingly illustrated for the very youngest members of any community, with a counting exercise to boot.

From the opening invitation, “Living in community, / it's a lot of FUN! / Lets count the ways. / Lets start with ONE,” Nagaro shows an urban community that is multicultural, supportive, and happy—exactly like the neighborhoods that many families choose to live and raise their children in. Text on every other page rhymes unobtrusively. Unlike the vocabulary found in A Is for Activist (2013), this book’s is entirely age-appropriate (though some parents might not agree that picketing is a way to show “that we care”). In A Is for Activist, a cat was hidden on each page; this time, finding the duck is the game. Counting is almost peripheral to the message. On the page with “Seven bikes and scooters and helmets to share,” identifying toys in an artistic heap is confusing. There is only one helmet for five toys, unless you count the second helmet worn by the girl riding a scooter—but then there are eight items, not seven. Seven helmets and seven toys would have been clearer. That quibble aside, Nagara's graphic design skills are evident, with deep colors, interesting angles, and strong lines, in a mix of digital collage and ink.

Ideal for any community where children count. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60980-632-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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