The purse-as-book gimmick has been done several times before, but this iteration of the novelty is more chic than tacky.

WHAT'S IN YOUR PURSE?

Peek inside five different purses, each one owned by a different member of the same family.

Each double-page spread has a large flap, hinged at the top. This front flap opens from the bottom to reveal two or three smaller flaps representing various objects inside the tote, from Mommy’s compact with a Mylar mirror inside to the passport of a world-traveling auntie. The text is an invitation to open Grandma’s, Sis’ or even the protagonist’s purse as well as a series of questions to encourage readers to examine the contents more closely. “What year was Grandma born?” “What month did Auntie travel to New York?” Young readers may need help answering some of these queries, since several require them to read schedules and very small type. Although the cover purse is pink, it is refreshing to see that the purses these women carry are yellow, green and purple. The last page shows the five Caucasian women and girls of this family all out for a walk, each carrying her purse. The entire package is purse-shaped, with die-cut handles and a plastic snap for a closure, none of which will stand up to heavy-duty play. Unfortunately, a couple of things are already starting to look dated, particularly Sis’ flip phone.

The purse-as-book gimmick has been done several times before, but this iteration of the novelty is more chic than tacky. (Novelty book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1701-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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