Arr—pirates may not surrender without a fight, but even the rowdiest readers will have to concede the inevitability of...



’Tis a cheerful afternoon on Spyglass Street, with swords flashing and pirates plundering—until Mom interrupts the fun.

 “Time for a nap, rowdy crew. / Mighty pirates need sleep too.” But the two little buccaneers don’t agree. A mutiny is staged (or temper tantrum—rebellion takes all forms), and the Captain defiantly cries, “’Tis a trap! / Pirates never, ever nap!” The two boys set off running through the house, searching for treasure along the way. Yellow coins are found buried in the couch, a brown wooden chest is discovered in the attic and sparkling orange beads are hidden in the closet. But avast, every adventure must come to an end. The tired pirates find their ship (the bed), stow their treasure, lift the anchor (a green boot) and sail off to sleep. Smith and Petrone pair once again (Two at the Zoo, 2009) for another lively concept-book creation. With staccato sentences and a snappy scansion that never wastes a syllable, it is impossible to deny the energy found in these two imaginative little boys. Petrone’s unmuddled palette and stretchy, loose-limbed characters add even more bounce to the romp.

Arr—pirates may not surrender without a fight, but even the rowdiest readers will have to concede the inevitability of naptime. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-57531-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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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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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.


You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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