There are other choices for the season’s fun.

FIVE LITTLE MONKEYS LOOKING FOR SANTA

From the Five Little Monkeys series

Five little monkeys can’t sleep—they are too excited about the prospect of seeing Santa.

An empty bed and sounds in the hallway…what could that mean? That’s right. Five little monkeys sneaking down the stairs, looking for Santa. Each time they hear a noise, they run to the spot, hoping it’s Santa. But he’s not in the kitchen eating cookies; Grandpa is there, snacking, and he shoos them off to bed. Santa won’t come while they’re awake, he says. They lie back down, wide-eyed, but when they hear noises from the bathroom, they sneak out of bed again to see who it is. It’s just Mama. She shoos them off too. They even check outside, not noticing the sleigh on a far-off neighbor’s roof, and get stuck on the roof. After tumbling down the chimney, they fall asleep on the couch, and only then does Santa visit, not waking them until the door clicks shut behind him. Christelow manages to picture Santa without even indicating whether he’s human, and children will have fun pointing out Santa’s cameos throughout the spreads while following the rhyming text. The monkeys-as-children trope has worn out its welcome for many readers and demographics; for die-hard fans only, this will be a welcome addition to the series.

There are other choices for the season’s fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-46985-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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