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ONE SKY

Lyrically dazzling, artistically stunning.

Stained glass–like cutouts depict the sky from dawn to dusk.

Caldecott Honor author/illustrator Becker takes readers on a visually striking, poetic journey through the day with the vibrant sky as the backdrop. The board book opens, “Its dawn begins in darkness,” and a swirl of thick black lines and geometric cutouts scrawl across the page. The cutouts, scattered throughout, have colorful, translucent inserts. Holding them up to a light source (for most success, try a sunny window) gives these a stained-glass effect in a palette matching the page. Each cutout complements the page that it is first found on as well as the next layout, mimicking the way the sky shifts subtly throughout the day, with colors evolving and deepening but not completely vanishing. Becker’s blend of hues is strategically chosen to resemble the delicate mix of blues, purples, and pinks that accompany an early morning sky. As the day progresses, there are orangey pinks, light blues, and little white patches that suggest clouds. The darkening sky at dusk reflects the morning’s pinks and purples until it becomes a dark purple with white sprays of stars: night. Between Becker’s poetic text, featuring satisfying alliteration (“We wonder at its wildness”) and the amazing sense of movement and color, readers are treated to a feast for the ears, eyes, and imagination.

Lyrically dazzling, artistically stunning. (Board book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2536-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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