It is an enchanting evening to remember (and a fine reminder that even a primary concept can get dressed up).



From one to 10 and back again, the mice get ready for the ball.

One lone mouse begins preparations by striking a fire in the grand fireplace. Two others scurry around with brooms to swish the castle clean. “Three fine mice in black-tie suits / tighten up the strings of their thumb-strum lutes.” It is time to don a mask and waltz at the Mousequerade Ball. Eight lords twirl their walking sticks with haughty importance, and nine buccaneers tip their elaborate, feathered hats in debonair bows. However, the 10 ladies, dressed in elegant finery, suddenly let out a terrified gasp. Who has arrived at the door but a…CAT! (Alas, the dramatic double-page close-up of the cat’s face is sadly, distractingly bisected by the pages’ gutter.) Mortensen frantically trips back down the number line as mice scatter to hide: “Six eager mice race beneath a rug. / Five plump mice squeeze into a jug.” But the last mouse realizes that the cat has come for the same reason as everyone else. She proffers her little paw, and they dance the night away. The spry toes of Lewin’s tiny mice glide along the text’s sprightly beat, her signature thick, flowing black line delineating features and finery and lending the rodents personality and movement.

It is an enchanting evening to remember (and a fine reminder that even a primary concept can get dressed up). (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61963-422-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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