WAY OUT IN THE DESERT

Marsh and Ward’s quick tour of the Sonoran Desert introduces readers to both local fauna (such as the horned toad, javelinas, tarantulas, Gila monsters, roadrunners, and scorpions) and flora (palo verde, ocotillo, saguaro, and prickly pear). Their observations are set to the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow,” for this is also a counting book: “Way out in the desert where the wildflowers grew/lived a mother hummingbird and her little hummers two.” Spengler has hidden each of the numbers in his full-page illustrations, which transport readers right into the thick of the environment and provide a better sense than the text of the animals and plants of this habitat. A glossary at the end of the book provides a more detailed account of the creatures. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-87358-687-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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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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A visual success conjuring up the best about the seasons’ changes.

GOODBYE SUMMER, HELLO AUTUMN

As a child walks through woods and town, summer turns to fall, and the natural world is met with a friendly hello.

A slim, brown child with a black-haired bob and hipster clothes stands on a stoop, ready to greet the late summer morning. On this picturesque journey through the seasons, the protagonist’s cordial salutation—whether made to blue jays and beavers or to the thunder and wind—is always the same: “Hello, [object].” And all amiably respond, providing tidbits of information about themselves. Unfortunately, their chatty replies miss the rhythm and easy conversational style that would make this shine as a read-aloud. It’s a shame, since the artist’s lush, evocative digital illustrations so perfectly capture the changing seasons in both the countryside and the town’s streets. To further accentuate the subject matter, Pak makes every spread a panorama, allowing readers to see and feel the various environments and habitats. Working in the tradition of such artists as Richard Scarry and Mary Blair, he takes a graphic approach, illustrating a world with simplified characters and shapes, layers of textures, and bold colors. Repeat visits will reveal new stories, such as the child’s collection and distribution of a carefully crafted bouquet to other people, whose diversity refreshingly reflects a range of skin tones, hairstyles, body types, and interests.

A visual success conjuring up the best about the seasons’ changes. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-415-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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