I WANT TO SAY I LOVE YOU

In a tender tale that captures the essence of childhood, a mother describes the myriad reasons she adores her offspring. The perceptive verses detail the enchanting vagaries of young children: sleep-tousled hairdos, decidedly offbeat fashion notions, questionable love offerings—dead insects, for example—skinned knees, and more. Beuhner’s keen observations reveal a universal truth: it’s those lovable quirks and foibles that so endear children to their parents. The phrase “I love you” is the emphatic statement that echoes throughout the poem, whether it’s prefaced with the very honest sentiments of “I love you because of . . . ” or “in spite of . . . ” Aware that the path of parenthood is not always smoothly traversed, Buehner succinctly sums up the contraposition inherent in the parent/child relationship. “I am big, and you’re still small, / We don’t see things the same at all.” Yet she swiftly bridges the generation gap with the reassurance, “But that’s okay.” Rogers’s unique artwork clearly expresses the emotions within. Collages created out of assorted pieces of paper layered together and then painted and drawn upon add depth and vitality to the illustrations. The rich tones of the full-color pictures provide an ideal backdrop for the deeply moving poem. A perfect way to show little ones they are cherished. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2547-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2001

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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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JAZZ BABY

A snappy rhyming text celebrates an extended family’s joyous gyrations to the jazz spinning on the turntable. From waking to sleep, Baby’s right in the thick of it, as siblings, grandparents and cousins move and groove: “So they BOOM-BOOM-BOOM / and they HIP-HIP-HOP / and the bouncin’ baby boogies with a BOP-BOP-BOP.” Wheeler’s verse scans beautifully and begs to be read aloud—danced to, even—making this a fine choice for preschool and kindergarten story times. Christie’s bold, double-paged gouache compositions locate this colorfully garbed, expressively hip family within an equally vibrant community. As Baby’s big dark eyes get glassy with fatigue, the party winds down. “Daddy sings blues. / Mama sings sweet. / While that snoozy-woozy baby . . . / . . . sleeps deep, deep, deep.” Exultant and infectious, from the red-and-yellow-striped endpapers to the final “OH YEAH!” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-202522-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2007

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