The endearing portrayal of a young boy’s relationship with his grandfather makes for a warm, intergenerational story.

THE BAGEL KING

A minor accident temporarily alters a weekly Sunday-morning–breakfast ritual.

On this particular Sunday, Eli begins to worry when his grandfather is unusually late to arrive with the weekly bagels. Then Zaida’s familiar Knock! Knock! at the door with a bag filled with “Warm. / Chewy. / Salty. / Bagels” is replaced with a phone call. Vexed and bagel-less, Zaida tells Eli he has slipped on some “schmutz” at the store and has hurt “his tuches.” The doctor orders rest at home for two weeks, the bagel-shaped pillow he holds out to Zaida visually informing readers who don’t know Yiddish what body part has been hurt. The first week passes with Eli bringing chicken soup, Zaida’s neighboring elderly gents visiting, and everyone lamenting that a Sunday without bagels is just another day. By Saturday night Eli develops a plan, makes a list, and succeeds in surprising Zaida and friends with—what else—bagels. Pleased and proud, Zaida declares Eli is “the Bagel King,” once again restoring the best thing about Sunday—“that is, except for Zaida.” Watercolors in soft hues against ample white space illustrate this gently diverse neighborhood and cast of characters; Eli, Zaida, and the rest of the family are white, but neighbors and the doctor have brown skin. Yiddish words and phrases, translated in a brief glossary before the title page, give flavor to Zaida’s aged Jewish generation.

The endearing portrayal of a young boy’s relationship with his grandfather makes for a warm, intergenerational story. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77138-574-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kids Can

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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