A more-or-less effective introduction to the ever-important subject of emotional literacy.

BABY FACES

A BOOK OF HAPPY, SILLY, FUNNY FACES

From the Indestructibles series

These babies' faces display full-on reactions. 

A variety of quirkily drawn, multiethnic babies, their vastly oversized heads often displaying two-toothed gaping mouths, enthusiastically respond to the environment around them. A few of the pairings are complementary: "yum-yum!" appears opposite "yucky!" (Nutrition mavens will sigh to see that "yucky" is provoked by green vegetables.) Some are more action-driven than strictly emotional or responsive. “Kiss!” depicts a youngster giving a loving smooch to her stuffed blue teddy. Sometimes a catalyst for the displayed emotion is unclear. “Boo-hoo!” depicts a ball directly behind a little girl, but why this produces tears is a mystery. At other times, though, a depicted object (a broken car, a diaper pail) has a clear relationship to a baby's response. Companion Baby Babble serves as a picture dictionary for the youngest set with familiar objects labeled in thematic spreads. Though not strictly board books, these seemingly flimsy paper books resist tearing and, according to the publisher, are washable.

A more-or-less effective introduction to the ever-important subject of emotional literacy. (Board book. 3 mos.-2)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7611-6881-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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