SNOWY RACE

A young child rides along in the snowplow to complete a very special errand.

Chronicling the breathless moment when a child will “finally get to help!” and be included in the adult world of work, a child protagonist (with car seat!) loads into Dad’s oversized plow truck to zoom off through a snowstorm. Conveyed in expressive couplets, the well-paced rhymes admirably evoke a sense of urgency about their trip and vividly paint a scene of the worsening wintry weather: “Frosty crystals chase and spin. / Snowplow shifts and tunnels in.” When the pair finally reaches their destination, readers see what made this particular journey so important—it’s Mom waiting for them at the train station! Swift, impressionistic sketches filled with soft pastel-hued washes create pastoral snowy scenes that contrast with the warmer, more saturated domestic scenes and with the thick-lined, cherry-red snowplow. Long, layered smears of white create a satisfying illusion of a blizzard, and Davenier utilizes various interesting perspectives, such as the view into the snowy woods from behind the windshield. Gender is handled refreshingly here, with Dad capably handling child care and chores, and while the flap copy refers to the child as female, the long-haired child appears in neutral primary colors, and bedroom decor includes trucks and elephants, with nary a pink toy in sight. All three family members have pale skin, Dad with brown hair and Mom and child with straight, black hair.

A winning winter race. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4141-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more