COOKIESAURUS CHRISTMAS

From the Cookiesaurus Rex series

For kids who like to have a little rambunctious, sloppy fun with their Christmas baking.

A table full of cookie cutters and an empty plate for Santa, seen from above, set the stage for the return of Cookiesaurus Rex after his eponymous debut (2017).

All of the cookies—bell, star, gingerbread boy, and the reptilian, self-described “King of All Cookies”—hope to be picked for Santa’s plate. But it’s Cookiesaurus who takes issue with the baker, whose hand moves everyone but him. He points out that “it’s not fair. Dinos have Christmas spirit too!” He does everything he can to be included, including pole-vaulting to the plate with a candy cane (and spilling the milk), but the hand keeps putting him back on the tray. Cookiesaurus’ snarky dialogue, delivered in speech bubbles, provides the humor that moves this adventure along: “Me! Pick Me!… / …What’s so special about Star? Is it because she twinkles? Because I can tinkle too…I mean TWINKLE!” After a great deal of effort, he finally gets put on the plate, but all of the others have fallen in the process. The fear that he’ll be put on Santa’s “Naughty List” compels him to put the others back on the plate. After one last outburst (“Wait one stinkin’, stompin’ minute!”), he’s rewarded in the end. Colorful illustrations bring the expressive cookies to life; the hand that wields “Mr. Spatula” is white.

For kids who like to have a little rambunctious, sloppy fun with their Christmas baking. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-6745-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

As ephemeral as a valentine.

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. 1, 2021

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