Young readers’ imaginations are sure to be fired by Sayre’s awe-inspiring photos and by the bite-sized science facts...

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FULL OF FALL

From the Weather Walks series

Leaves of orange, gold, and red shout from amid the last of summer’s fading green canvas.

Shy at first, then with a bold advance, the ripple of flaming colors races through the forest like a metachronal wave until the miserly hoarders of chlorophyll are too embarrassed to do much more than sulk. A carpet of leaves; a canopy of leaves—a crescendo of leaves. Sayre’s stunning photographic images sweep across each majestic double-page spread. The rhyming text meanders from one-word identifiers—“Midribs”—to ecstatic exclamations: “So many leaves!” However, the irregular meter occasionally sputters. “Fall is ending. // Goodbye, leaf show. / Winter is coming…. // Oh, / hello, snow!” Also, whereas critters and weather figured prominently in Sayre’s previous offerings, here they are very minor players and are sorely missed. There are cameo appearances by wind and sun and only four shots of fauna—two squirrels, a mallard, and a flight of geese. This absence, especially as this is the season when forest animals and insects are frenetically preparing for the cold, contributes to a sterility of tone despite the wonder of fall’s audacious palette. In addition, the decision to introduce the next season is disappointing. Spring kept its nose out of Best in Snow (2016), and instead of stealing fall’s thunder, winter should have done the same. Fortunately, nature’s glorious riot overpowers these missteps.

Young readers’ imaginations are sure to be fired by Sayre’s awe-inspiring photos and by the bite-sized science facts provided at the end of the book. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7984-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall.

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THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES

This book may not have pictures, but it’s sure to inspire lots of conversations—and laughs.

Television writer, actor and comedian Novak delivers a rare find, indeed: a very good celebrity picture book. It doesn’t even seem fair to call it such, since it has nothing to do with his Emmy Award–winning writing for The Office or the fame his broader career has afforded him. The jacket flap even eschews a glossy photo, instead saying “B.J. has brown hair and blue eyes,” in order to keep with the book’s central conceit. What this book does have is text, and it’s presented through artful typography that visually conveys its changing tone to guide oral readings. Furthermore, the text implies (or rather, demands) a shared reading transaction, in which an adult is compelled to read the text aloud, no matter how “COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS” it is. Employing direct address, it pleads with the implied child listener to allow him or her to stop reading. Nonsense words, silly words to be sung and even a smattering of potty talk for good measure all coalesce in riotous read-aloud fare. Although the closing pages beg the implied child reader to “please please please please / please / choose a book with pictures” for subsequent reading, it’s likely that this request will be ignored.

A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall. (. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4171-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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