A winning choice for reading aloud in storytimes and a fine gift for a family with a new baby, with or without a dog.

CRYBABY

A black Labrador retriever is the only family member who can soothe a crying baby in this humorous, cumulative story that cries out to be read aloud with plenty of sound effects.

The story begins “in a quiet house on a quiet street,” but the stillness of the night is broken by a resounding “W-A-A-A-A!” set in large, red display type. The titular “crybaby” is clearly distressed and wailing loudly in her crib. The old family dog, Roy, comes a-running with the baby’s favorite stuffed toy, but his help is repeatedly rejected. Each family member tries a different tactic to help quiet the baby, from rocking to a bottle feeding to changing the baby’s diaper. Every action is given a sound-effect description, usually two words, with the rhyming phrases adding up in a funny reverse list that children will enjoy repeating or acting out: “P-e-e-u-u-w-w! / Peek-a-boo! / Hush, hush! / Rush, rush!” Faithful Roy the retriever keeps offering the baby’s stuffed lamb, and eventually the baby reaches down for her toy, solving her crying spell and allowing everyone to get to sleep just as the sun is rising. Loose watercolor illustrations with the look of collage effectively incorporate the sound-effect words within the page designs. Roy is portrayed as a gentle giant carrying the toy lamb in his mouth, and the depictions of family and neighbors add humor to the parade of potential helpers.

A winning choice for reading aloud in storytimes and a fine gift for a family with a new baby, with or without a dog. (Picture book. 3-8) 

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8974-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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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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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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