A NEW GREEN DAY

In a series of nature riddles that beg to be read aloud, a child finds joy and wonder in the great outdoors.

Prolific author and illustrator Portis leads readers through a summer day spent outside. Through gentle, brain-teasing verse, aspects of the natural world introduce themselves to the story’s only human character, who sports dark pigtails and a warm brown complexion. As readers follow along, they too are treated to a delightful guessing game: Based on the poetically brief clues, what everyday plant, animal, or weather pattern is calling out to be discovered by the protagonist? For example: “I’m a mountain that moves. Look, I come to you,” one clue begins. With the turn of the page, the natural element’s identity is revealed with the simple completion of the sentence: “says cloud,” here accompanied by a breezy, textured illustration of an overcast sky. Because the answer to each riddle is declared on the subsequent spread, readers have a chance to brainstorm as they approach each intimation. Though this formula carries throughout the text, the book remains straightforward and engaging thanks to Portis’ fresh take on familiar outdoor sights. Very young children will love reading along with adults, who can help them make sense of the sometimes-abstract hints; older kids will have fun making guesses on their own. This sweet celebration of summertime, nature, and youthful curiosity is a worthy addition to school and public libraries and personal collections alike.

Simple, poetic, and fun. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4488-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

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. 2, 2021

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An adorable adventure in cartography.

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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