A joyous chronicle of the delight that a bath can bring—imaginative and charming.

OFF TO SEE THE SEA

The family from Bedtime for Sweet Creatures (2020) is back for bathtime.

The previous book’s precocious toddler laughingly hides from Mom (Dad’s reading in the living room) when it’s clear bathtime looms. The child is persuaded to the tub with the promise that “Bath time is full of magic!” Changes in the color and capitalization of the type emphasize certain elements of the story (without any clear pattern) as Mom, who narrates, uses the power of imagination to make bathtime an adventure. The water coming out of the faucet is a “WATERFALL”; “MONSTERS” (in yellow) appear on the high seas in the form of a single rubber ducky, which elicits a “squeal” (also in yellow) from the child; mother and child “CRASH [in red] against the waves” aboard a pair of toy tugboats. Zunon’s art is lovely as ever, and her use of colors heightens engagement. It’s unfortunate that, as in the prior book, readers see the mother as the more active parent. If this family returns for a third outing, here’s hoping for more balanced parental responsibilities. Regardless of this gender-normative misstep, this companion to Bedtime for Sweet Creatures is adorable. All characters are Black.

A joyous chronicle of the delight that a bath can bring—imaginative and charming. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3829-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits.

PLANTS FEED ME

This simplest of informational picture books offers a sensible, sunny celebration of the plants—specifically the parts of plants—that we eat.

The opening scene shows a boy seated at table surrounded by a rich harvest. He’s holding a watermelon rind that mirrors the wide grin he wears, helping to set the good-natured tone of the book. As preschoolers examine the pages, they will learn about the featured fruits and vegetables and how they grew. Warm gouache-and–colored-pencil illustrations first depict a garden where “Plants reach up for the sun. / They grow down in the ground.” As the narrator goes on to explain that “I eat different parts from different plants,” such as roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, flowers and seeds, youngsters will find labeled images to peruse. The short, declarative sentences are easily digested by the very youngest and will tempt burgeoning readers to test their skills. Best of all, children will surely be inspired to taste some of the produce the next time it appears on their plates.

Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2526-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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