A natural shower gift for parents-to-be or an excellent way to introduce the topic of where a young reader’s story began.

WONDERFUL YOU

Everyone loves a good beginning.

Graff delivers a heartwarming tale about a baby’s introduction into the world, one guaranteed to be read and reread by children who wonder where their own tales began. She employs a simple yet effective rhyme scheme—each rhyming couplet ends with “you”—that soothes like a cherished lullaby as the narrator describes the wait for the birth of a baby. Graff, known for her enchanting middle-grade novels (Far Away, 2019, etc.), deftly relays the worry, delight, anticipation, and joy of impending parenthood. With each spread she employs the now-popular comparison of fruit to developing baby as eager expectant parents address the child to come: “When you were an eggplant, we called in our crew. / We painted and prepped and we waited for you,” reads one representative spread. German artist Kaulitzki shares an inclusive cast of characters, depicting a multitude of family types to satisfy many of the ways modern people create a family, including evidently same-sex couples and several sets of interracial parents. While there are plenty of pregnant bellies in evidence, some scenes are open to interpretation of adoptive families. Her color palette is soft, rich, and warm, and her compositions are the artistic equivalent of a hug, blending fluid lines and whimsical colors as well as patterns to appeal to a diverse audience. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads reviewed at 150% of actual size.)

A natural shower gift for parents-to-be or an excellent way to introduce the topic of where a young reader’s story began. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984837-38-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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