Adults may feel nostalgia over seasons past—and young readers will be introduced to the enticing lure of autumn and the joys...

BELLA'S FALL COAT

An exuberant girl leaps into the joys of seasonal change with her loving grandmother.

Bella is growing, but she wants things to last forever, such as the crunchy autumn leaves, the geese that fill the sky, and especially her beloved old coat. Whenever Grams kindly mentions the need for a new coat, there’s a “WHOOSH,” “WHIZZ,” or “ZOOM” as the ruddy-complexioned child sprints out the door to play in the natural world. Each trip outside brings delight; each return, the opportunity to bond with Grams. Plourde’s lovely text about the ephemeral nature of objects and seasons—and the lasting love of family—is beautifully realized by Gal’s expressive, digital collage illustrations. Vibrant and spontaneous, they recall Keats and Isadora. Cleverly, she contrasts the cool blue tones of the girl’s outfit against the autumn-colored orange of fall, then flops the contrast as the seasons change. Bella’s joie de vivre emanates from the page, her wavy, often wild, blue-black hair a perfect extension of its vivacious owner. But Gal also captures the tender, quiet moments: Grams asleep under the warm glow of a lamp, the new coat she’s made in her lap, and the loving twosome walking hand in hand under a pink, purple dusky sky.

Adults may feel nostalgia over seasons past—and young readers will be introduced to the enticing lure of autumn and the joys of sharing it with someone they love . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2697-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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