LIFE WITH MY FAMILY

A young girl wonders what life with her loud family would be like if they were animals instead of people.

Chaos surrounds her in the kitchen: Her younger brother is hurling yogurt at her, her baby brother is screaming, and her father is burning his shirt with the iron as her mother pays bills at the table. This all has the girl wondering “what else we could be.” She imagines them all as a pod of pelicans, a swarm of bees, a pride of lions, a smack of jellyfish, and more, all appearing more peaceful than they are as humans at home. When she comes to imagining them as a wisdom of wombats, she realizes that life as animals would hold danger as well: “What if they tried to take my little brother to the zoo?!” In the final two spreads, the wild kitchen scene of the family preparing dinner together settles down as they sit down to a set table, where younger brothers are still messy but smiles abound. She realizes that “while we’re together, there’s no place I’d rather be.” Fun to read, and featuring both common and rare collective nouns (“a pandemonium of parrots”), the book ends with a note about collective nouns and a list of additional “terms of venery.” Humorous illustrations distinguish each family member in the animal imaginings with their signature hair and accessories, such as glasses and a pacifier. It’s a happy interracial family, with a black-presenting dad and Asian-presenting mom; the kids are all distinct individuals.

Cute and familiar. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-8937-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more