Cardboard boxes and duct tape are sure to turn up missing in many a household as spaceships roar into screen-free adventures.

SPACE BOY AND THE SNOW MONSTER

Sneering punk snowmen—check. Crazed killer snow bunny—check. Rampaging fanged snow monster—check. Space boy Niko’s third rip-roaring adventure is ready for takeoff.

But trusty co-pilot Radar the robot is missing! All clues lead to the Snow Monster’s lair on Planet Ice. Upon landing, Niko spots the monster—who sounds suspiciously like his big sister, Posh. The Posh Monster is wily and has an army of menacing, mohawked snowpunks awaiting the indomitable space boy and his space dog, Tag. They’re attacked. Frozen projectiles fly! Ducking and weaving, Niko follows Snow Bunny’s tracks to Radar—the rescue mission is a success. But wait! The frosty cottontail’s eyes are glowing red, and are those fangs? “Killer Bunnies are not to be trusted!” Can they possibly escape? Niko’s impassioned play-by-play narrative flawlessly mimics that of kids boisterously immersed in dramatic worldbuilding. Regan’s minichapters and short, exclamatory sentences sustain the escalating tension, while Neubecker’s wacky illustrations augment the humor by orchestrating action shots counter to Niko’s script. For instance, as Niko blasts into space to find “lost” Radar, the poor robot is shown desperately hanging onto the ship’s horizontal stabilizer, and the “cautiously” advancing dog is pictured cavorting above the drifts with joyous abandon. Each detail-packed frame energetically propels the story forward with chuckle-inducing results.

Cardboard boxes and duct tape are sure to turn up missing in many a household as spaceships roar into screen-free adventures. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59078-957-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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