Creative kids, especially those who also feel unrepresented, will be inspired.

MOLLY MORNINGSTAR A DOLL FOR ME

A girl finds an inventive solution to missing representation in the toy aisle in this clever debut picture book about inclusion.

Molly Morningstar is so excited to be invited to her friend Emma’s birthday tea party. The invitation says to bring a doll, but Molly just can’t choose. “Emma has lots of pretty dolls. And they all look like her. I wish I had a doll that looks like ME!” Molly laments. At the toy store, the brown-skinned, curly haired Molly sees only pale-skinned dolls; even on the internet, Molly and her mother can’t find a good match. When Molly comes up with the solution to make her own doll, she finds all the right materials and creates a twin for herself, impressing all her friends and making a doll she loves. Molly is a narrator who knows what she wants and is determined to find a way to achieve it—even if she makes a mess along the way. Coke uses a straightforward, realistic narration style to emulate Molly’s voice, with occasional poetry sprinkled throughout. Orozco’s exuberant illustrations capture Molly’s attitude (and her mother’s exasperation at those messes) while giving the story’s lead a great range of diverse friends of both genders at the party—some whose dolls match them and some who don’t. Emma’s birthday present—a doll that looks like an action figure—is a nice touch that critiques gender expectations.

Creative kids, especially those who also feel unrepresented, will be inspired.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77738-832-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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