WHEN FRANK WAS FOUR

A brilliantly conceived book about seven children, consisting entirely of variations on the same phrase: ``When Nicky was one she spilled spaghetti on her head. Frank bit the dog. Tessa took her first steps . . . And Rosie said `Horse.' '' A small scene of each event appears above the line of text. On the next page, accompanied by a full-page illustration, is a screwy sort of punchline, e.g., ``But Clive smashed the china at his Great Grandmother's birthday party.'' For each of the next six years, the same pattern is repeated, with a different character leading off, and a different one delivering the punchline. The captions are wonderfully turned miniatures, simultaneously simple and inventive. Most of the time the text and pictures are hilarious, and even when the text is not explicitly funny, the picture makes it so. Lester (Yikes!, 1995, etc.) provides her characteristic watercolors, depicting irresistibly independent children in ever-changing sequence; perhaps her books should never be fully absorbed in just one sitting. A counting/memory game closes the book; the entire venture is unique in design and executed to perfection. (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-395-74275-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1996

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

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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WHERE IS THE GREEN SHEEP?

Fox’s latest is a participation story filled with a variety of sheep. There are thin sheep and wide sheep, swing sheep and slide sheep, blue sheep and red sheep, sheep that are paired, complementing each other in some way. Only one kind seems to be missing and without a mate as the repetitious question asks, “Where is the green sheep?” Fox, a literacy consultant and reading professor, has once again produced a perfectly simple text with a patterned language and rhythm just right for toddlers experiencing the basics of life and budding readers learning to complete their sentences by looking at words and pictures together. Horacek’s clear, matching watercolor-and-pen cartoon-style drawings flawlessly render each ewe’s role, providing little ones a successful reading experience and ultimately finding the green sheep’s hiding place. Ideally easy and well-designed. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-15-204907-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2004

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