Two children discover why we need books.

The question is posed on the first, otherwise-blank double-page spread: “Why do we need books?” On the next spread, two white children gaze up at a wall of books, rendered in swift watercolor strokes of reds, yellows, and blues. When a book falls off of the shelf and hits one in the head—“Thunk!”—the children get to take a look at the mysterious red object. “Blah Blah Blah,” it reads. Then, in a celebration of books (and of infinitives), the children find out just why we need books: “to play”; “to understand one another”; “to invent.” The children, accompanied by a black cat and a brown dog, read, build book towers, travel, and fly. A scribbly whale even leaps from an open book on verso across the gutter to amaze the children; the next double-page spread depicts a brown-skinned Pinocchio (a nod to Sanna’s Pinocchio: The Origin Story, 2016). The riotous actions of the books—tumbling off shelves, flying through the air, teetering in rickety towers— are nicely balanced by the soft palette of sunshine and golden yellows, watery blues, bold reds, and greens, with black waves that look like cursive writing. The children’s adventures with the books lead to the conclusion, which mirrors the opening in design: “Now I understand.”

A visual feast. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84976-668-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tate/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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