A pleasant if imperfect celebration of a grandfather-granddaughter relationship and an introduction to the game of golf.

TEA TIME

A day for tea or a day to tee (off)?

Hippopotami Frannie and Grandy, her grandfather, are both preparing for an outing, though each has a different type in mind. Frannie heard tea, so she packs up a picnic lunch, blanket, and tea set. Grandy understood tee, so he collects clubs, balls, shoes, bug spray, and sunblock with the intention of teaching Frannie how to play golf. The mutual misconception continues until the warmly illustrated duo arrive at the golf course and Frannie rushes to a green to spread out her blanket and meal, which is demolished by a driven ball. Unperturbed, the two seamlessly change things up and simply go to the clubhouse for tea and continue their afternoon with a game of minigolf, which Frannie comes to love. Readers are left to their own devices to figure out the mix-up, as there is no obvious moment of recognition by either Frannie or Grandy of their miscommunication, which seems a lost opportunity to introduce at least the idea of homonyms. Moreover, readers don’t get to see Grandy switching gears, which could have added some humor. Still the pair’s loving companionship rings true, and young readers may enjoy figuring out the problem themselves (perhaps with some help). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pleasant if imperfect celebration of a grandfather-granddaughter relationship and an introduction to the game of golf. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4108-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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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

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