There are so many shape-recognition books that are so much better; this one should remain tangled.



Two- and three-dimensional shapes must problem-solve when several get stuck while at the playground.

“One day a little circle, just as happy as could be / got caught inside the jungle gym, and couldn’t wiggle free.” Several friends try to help her, either ineffectually or, worse, getting stuck themselves. As crowds gather, a line arrives, and she devises the perfect plan. With the help of a prism and a sphere, she sets up a lever and pops the shapes free. Miranda’s rhyming verses sometimes stumble. Comstock’s shape characters, with noodlelike arms and legs, mostly sport similar expressions of dismay or happiness. His depictions of the jungle gym fail to make it clear how the shapes are trapped; they look as though they could just slip out. Only two shapes are specifically gendered female in the text. Both are pink (at least one other pink shape is explicitly male); one has a bow atop her head, the other, who wears glasses, has eyelashes. The mix of 2- and 3-D shapes makes the audience tough to pin down. Some shapes will be mystifying to children still sorting them out: The word “ellipse” is used instead of “oval,” and in a scene where crowds gather, the text refers to “points” joining the throng; readers may not know what they are till they reach the ending shape gallery, which shows points as a group of dots.

There are so many shape-recognition books that are so much better; this one should remain tangled. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9721-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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