Definitely a rousingly rumbly ramble, but the seams are rough enough to trip over.

DINOSONG

Three young dinosaurs enjoy a percussive prehistoric perambulation.

Modeled on their Watersong (2017) McCanna pairs a text composed nearly exclusively of sound-effect words to Smythe’s bright and sprightly views of a triceratops, an ankylosaurus, and a generic sauropod, all sporting smiles, googly eyes, and hides in glowing hues. They cross a log over a stream, lumber through a rocky landscape as thunder rumbles, and tumble into a dark cave to escape the eruption of a nearby volcano. Unlike the previous outing, the sounds sometimes seem oddly unsuited to the action on the page. It’s hard to figure, for instance, how “clank clack // crinkle crackle / clunk” sounds like an ankylosaurus rolling down a steep hill, or “Bang bowl / clang roll” evokes a boulder doing the same. (Maybe the author had a storyline involving robots in mind and the illustrator took an unexpected turn?) Still, there’s never a dull moment, until the cave opens out at its other end to reveal parental dinos in a peaceful setting: Ahh, “Safe and sound.” The author suddenly turns voluble, adding a closing page of remarks about dinosaurs, magma, the three kinds of rocks, what paleontologists do, and other scattered topics at least tangentially related to the mise en scène.

Definitely a rousingly rumbly ramble, but the seams are rough enough to trip over. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3002-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Laugh-out-loud fun for all.

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NANETTE'S BAGUETTE

Hilarious complications ensue when Nanette’s mom gives her the responsibility of buying the family baguette.

She sets out on her errand and encounters lots of distractions along the way as she meets and greets Georgette, Suzette, Bret with his clarinet, Mr. Barnett and his pet, Antoinette. But she remembers her mission and buys the baguette from Juliette the baker. And oh, it is a wonderful large, warm, aromatic hunk of bread, so Nanette takes a taste and another and more—until there is nothing left. Maybe she needs to take a jet to Tibet. But she faces her mother and finds understanding, tenderness, and a surprise twist. Willems is at his outlandish best with line after line of “ettes” and their absurd rhymes, all the while demonstrating a deep knowledge of children’s thought processes. Nanette and the entire cast of characters are bright green frogs with very large round eyes, heavily outlined in black and clad in eccentric clothing and hats. A highly detailed village constructed of cardboard forms the background for Nanette’s adventures. Her every emotion explodes all over the pages in wildly expressive, colorful vignettes and an eye-popping use of emphatic display type. The endpapers follow the fate of the baguette from fresh and whole to chewed and gone. Demands for encores will surely follow.

Laugh-out-loud fun for all. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2286-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin.

ON THE FIRST DAY OF FIRST GRADE

The traditional song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gets a school makeover as readers follow a cheery narrator through the first 12 days of first grade.

“On the first day of first grade / I had fun right away // laughing and learning all day!” In these first two spreads, Jennings shows the child, who has brown skin and a cloud of dark-brown hair, entering the schoolyard with a diverse array of classmates and settling in. In the backgrounds, caregivers, including a woman in hijab, stand at the fence and kids hang things on hooks in the back of the room. Each new day sees the child and their friends enjoying new things, previous days’ activities repeated in the verses each time so that those listening will soon be chiming in. The child helps in the classroom, checks out books from the library, plants seeds, practices telling time and counting money, leads the line, performs in a play, shows off a picture of their pet bunny, and does activities in gym, music, and art classes. The Photoshop-and-watercolor illustrations portray adorable and engaged kids having fun while learning with friends. But while the song and topic are the same, this doesn’t come close to touching either the hysterical visuals or great rhythm of Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003).

For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266851-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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