This silly read-, dance- and sing-aloud could be a smash hit.


Backyard insect thespians Ladybug and her pesky younger brother Fly compete to star in this hilarious pun-filled performance, sure to tickle the fancy of fun- and pun-loving youngsters and would-be young stars.

Although some of the allusions (Bugspray, Pestside Story and Thoroughly Modern Millipede) may be over their heads, children will surely identify with the competition between siblings and recognize the parodies of “classic” songs. “Spiders,” composed by Wolfspider Amadeus Mozart, is sung to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” for instance, and “Ladybug,” by Earwig van Beethoven, to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.” Theatrically lit acts include a supporting cast of costumed ladybugs, butterflies, spiders, assorted bugs and even worms. A playbill complete with appropriately themed advertisements adds to the fun. Jamieson’s collage-and-acrylic illustrations revel in the goofiness, clothing Ladybug in a frilly red dress with black polka dots and a feathery pink boa and plastering an irritating little-brother grin all over Fly’s face. The Busby Berkeley– inspired “Ladybug” number is hysterical. As Roger Fleabert’s blurb on the book’s cover says, “Six thumbs up!”

This silly read-, dance- and sing-aloud could be a smash hit. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3701-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.


Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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