Sure to provoke conversation, a fresh approach to looking, and multiple readings.

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INSIDE OUTSIDE

As they did in Before After (2014), Arégui and Ramstein invite viewers to investigate concepts by moving back and forth through their colorful, dynamic world.

The large-format, wordless book begins with the cross section of an enormous egg and the yellow duckling cramped inside. On the recto opposite, a mother and tiny purple offspring watch the still-unhatched oval. Next a spelunker descends into an amethyst mine; the facing page shows the holder of the rope at the surface. Each digital pairing offers plenty to ponder: What will happen when that duckling, larger and a different color than its siblings, emerges? Is that Rapunzel swimming across a pond? Is that little gray bird on the outside of the fence that pens in the parrots? Some scenes take more time than others to decipher, but the book’s creators have skillfully employed scale and color to guide careful seekers. Other images are unexpected: A figure in a tent, building a fire, is revealed to be inside a now-smoking whale; a vibrating heart precedes a bungee jumper. It is the distinct shapes of the amethysts in the final spreads that trigger recall and propel readers back to the beginning. The older gentleman at the window has a collection of objects and paintings that beg to be connected (to each spread?), adding another level of challenge. (He presents white, but other humans display diverse skin colors.)

Sure to provoke conversation, a fresh approach to looking, and multiple readings. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0597-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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