This would be equally successful sharing one on one or with a group and may also be an engaging conversation starter about...


Wood produces a cozy, gently humorous title that features a multitude of cuddly father-and-child animal pairs showcasing the innumerable ways a dad can show his love.

Ideal for the younger set at Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day or any day at all, this title states what most kids know: that “[w]hen a dad says ‘I love you,’ he doesn’t always say it in the plain old ordinary way.” The extraordinary demonstrations of paternal love include actions that most children may take for granted. Making pancakes, “even if they’re a little bit…crispy,” racing around the yard, singing a song “for the three hundred and sixty-ninth time,” inventing silly nicknames, giving bike-riding lessons, answering questions “that start with ‘Why,’ ” sharing magic tricks and reading a good story are just some of the many examples. Bell’s digitally finished illustrations have a soft yet sketched quality that captures the warmth and fun as the creatures interact. The cast features bears, alligators, frogs, mice, zebras, foxes, pigs, cats and koalas, among others. In the end, as the youngster is being tucked in, the story circles back to the initial pair of bears. Here, “just to fool you, a dad might say… / ‘I love you.’ In the plain old ordinary way.”

This would be equally successful sharing one on one or with a group and may also be an engaging conversation starter about how actions often speak louder than words. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-689-87532-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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