A neat Nordic tale about the importance of valuing nature—one’s own and the world’s.

THE HIKING VIKING

Not every Viking wants to brawl and battle.

Waifish and bright-eyed Leif would much rather peacefully hike the craggy hills around his Viking village than howl at the moon with the rest of his clan. While other Vikings his age, who are all big and burly, ask for spears and poleaxes for their birthdays, Leif requests a hiking stick. His mother tries to get him to wrestle, his father forces him to practice spear throwing, and his sister drags him off to practice lifting heavy rocks, because the Viking Games are approaching. Leif attempts to explain his love of nature to them, but they are having none of it. With the honor of his clan at stake, Leif gives the Games his best shot. When the competition ends in a tie, it is decided that whichever clan can show the judges “the greatest treasure by sunset will be the winner.” Everyone rushes to fetch their finest booty, and it seems that the other clan will win…until Leif surprises the whole village with a treasure beyond all earthly goods. Gehl’s tale relays its message about the value of self-authenticity and open-mindedness without being preachy. Banks’ bright illustrations of White Scandinavians in a green, mountainous landscape are reminiscent of cutout animation, endowing each spread with an immersive motion-picture quality. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A neat Nordic tale about the importance of valuing nature—one’s own and the world’s. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-68446-427-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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A winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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