Superbly splashy, immersive, and effervescent.

BUBBLES…UP!

A swimming pool and a young swimmer create watery magic together.

Davies’ lighthearted, lively bit of poetry describes the singular joy of an afternoon at the neighborhood pool in this celebration of underwater swimming and splashing. “PLUNGE! / under / under / under,” reads the text as a child with black hair and light brown skin and a colorfully striped one-piece bathing suit dives and floats and soars underwater. “Bubbles…UP!” A younger, lighter-skinned little person wearing floaties and orange swim trunks stays by the poolside with an adult while a crowd of children with many different hair types and colors of skin splashes and shouts in the pool. Sánchez’s illustrations capture the way sunlight ripples through water over blue-patterned tiles and convey the blissful freedom of weightlessness, diving to the bottom of an imaginary ocean world and rocketing to the top amid bubbles. A brief thundershower clears the pool, and everyone huddles near the snack bar—but when the all-clear sounds, it’s back to the water. There’s a dramatic rescue of a rubber duck: “You are fast…/ —aqueous— / A watery dolphin, all flash and fin.” There’s cuddling—for a moment—in a towel after, and then back to the water, where the smaller child joins in the fun at last. The exuberant sense of being purely in the moment is delightful. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 19% of actual size.)

Superbly splashy, immersive, and effervescent. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-283661-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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 bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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