Though the word “love” is never used in the text, readers will see that these grandmas have it in abundance.

IT'S GOOD TO HAVE A GRANDMA

This exploration of relationships between grandmothers and their grandchildren focuses on the extra time and patience grandmas have in abundance.

Each smiling grandma is shown interacting with one or two grandkids, enjoying quiet activities at home such as baking or observing flowers or reading books in the backyard. Outside activities include shopping, outings to the beach and swimming pool, and a roller-coaster ride at an amusement park. The first-person text describes each type of activity in a calm, quiet style, reflecting the theme that time and patience are gifts of love. Each page or spread features a changing cast of grandmas and grandchildren, including many different racial representations. The grandmother in the cover illustration presents Asian while her grandson has light skin and blond hair and her granddaughter has brown skin and dark hair in afro puffs, opening the way for discussions about diverse family configurations. Some of the grandmas seem quite young, some have gray hair, and none appear to be slowing down in their physical abilities. Soft-focus illustrations do a fine job of creating personalities for the large cast of characters. A companion title, It’s Good To Have a Grandpa, follows a similar structural pattern, although the focus is on having fun experiences with grandfathers.

Though the word “love” is never used in the text, readers will see that these grandmas have it in abundance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3676-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 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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