A conventional bedtime story that will appeal mostly to balletomanes.

BEDTIME BALLET

Bedtime is more fun when ballet’s involved.

As the sun sets, a child and their stuffed bunny dance their way to bed. The insects, frogs, birds, and flowers in the yard join in the dance, jumping and spinning with delight. Then the duo glide into the house to dance through their bedtime routine, brushing teeth, giving kisses to Mama and waving at brother before Papa tucks them in for sleep. With the plot following a fairly standard bedtime-book formula, caregivers looking for a short, sweet bedtime story will be happy with this fluffy book. What distinguishes it are the inclusion and depiction of ballet terms in both text and illustrations, and little ones who are already enrolled in ballet class will be able to understand the text easily. Those less familiar with ballet terminology may find the story less than engaging, but the glossary on the final page that includes a pronunciation guide provides some support. The rhyme scheme bounces the story along, with an instance of assonance perhaps drawing readers up short: “Kitty jumps close / with a grand pas de chat. / Puppy just watches. / His tail thumps to clap.” Softly colored textured washes combine with thick linework to create a cozy atmosphere. Fantastical performing animals add a touch of whimsy. All human characters are depicted with pale skin and brown hair. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 40% of actual size.)

A conventional bedtime story that will appeal mostly to balletomanes. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5470-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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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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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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