A royal serving of fun for the new-baby shelf.

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, KING BABY

A TERRIBLE TRUE STORY

A big sister’s nose is out of joint when her baby brother arrives and makes a royal mess of what she regarded as her once-ideal life.

First-person text establishes “the most beautifulest, cleverest, ever-so-kindest Princess with long, flowing wondrous hair” as the narrator of this new-baby story. Illustrations amplify the flowery text’s humor by depicting the white girl with bobbed hair and wearing a pair of yellow tights on her head to emulate Rapunzel-like locks. After King Baby, who is also white though initially hairless, arrives, parallel series of panel illustrations, one rendered in the cartoon style of the main book, the other in a naïve style that suggests a child’s hand, detail the ways that the baby disrupts her happy life with his pooping, burping, attention-hogging ways. The worst arrives with his first birthday, which she decides to interrupt “disguised as a Mysterious Fairy, with a magic wand, a big very magical nose, and a cunning plan….” But before she can put her plan into action, the baby is overwhelmed by the party guests’ singing and attention and begins to cry. Who can soothe him? Only his big sister, of course. She’s now a “Kind Fairy [whose] loveliness had grown even stronger (like a sparkling mountain stream).” And, yes, following this act of sisterly kindness, “They Lived Happily Ever After—THE END….”

A royal serving of fun for the new-baby shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9793-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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