This energetic jazz lunch is not to be missed.

JAZZ FOR LUNCH!

This picture book embodies the rhythm and flair of the jazz that inspired it.

A little boy is headed to a club for lunch with his aunt Nina, who is a regular. The club serves jazz for lunch: “Sounds of the kitchen and the music mix together” as the instruments sing from the stage and the food swings from the kitchen. Everything is exciting until the boy, who narrates in first person, finds they are stuck in the back. He can’t see the stage, he can’t get a bite to eat, and the dancers and waiters are stomping on his feet. Overwhelmed, they leave early, and Auntie Nina promises him a surprise. The next day at Auntie Nina’s house, it’s a “rhythm kitchen, / high flyin’ stomp. / Teachin’ me to cook, / it’s a hot house romp!” Vinyl records are playing the jazz greats, prompting the chefs to name their dishes after them and to take interludes to play some pots as drums and celery as trumpet. They’ve only just finished cooking when another surprise comes knocking at the door. This joyful book is an experience in itself, with the text in rhythmic, rhyming verses and the bright, busy illustrations screaming movement, noise and joy. Aunt and nephew present as Black, and they are surrounded by a crowd with a range of skin tones and hair textures. Endpapers introduce jazz legends in ways that will entice readers to learn more on their own. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This energetic jazz lunch is not to be missed. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5408-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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