What a wonderful world of words and pictures.

MY WORLD

A BOOK OF FIRST WORDS

A visual and verbal feast of a picture book.

Each double-page spread offers readers a bevy of words and pictures that fall under a general, labeled thematic grouping. For example, the first spread reads, merely, “Babies” in a green text block in the upper-left corner of the verso, and then there are 13 groupings of animal parents and babies spread out over the white pages, with words assigned to each: gorilla and infant, deer and fawn, kangaroo and joey, and so on. Digital illustrations take on the appearance of collage—a bit like Eric Carle’s work but with a more cartoonish slant lent with the big round eyes on each character. In a humorous twist, in the spread for “Things to Wear,” these items have the same wide, round eyes found on the animals and birds on prior pages, as do subsequent spreads with kitchen items, musical instruments, and plants. This touch adds levity and playfulness to the picture book, which never develops into a story but provides readers with ample visual interest with pictures tied to an array of vocabulary. With items ranging in complexity from T-shirt and swing set to Prenocephale (a “Prehistoric Creature”) and a lute, the book will grow with its readers. Humans, when depicted, appear in a variety of skin tones and hair colors and textures; one girl wears the hijab.

What a wonderful world of words and pictures. (Picture book. 6 mos.-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-530-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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