Instructive but punctuated with excitement—a rousing read-aloud work.


An exclamation point is too exuberant to follow the rules in this picture book.

Pling, a smiling exclamation point with an expressive face, must follow an unnamed narrator’s one rule: “He can only be in a book two times.” But dramatic events all around him just seem to call for Pling, from a sudden rainstorm to Baby Goat’s wonderful birthday party, which keeps erupting into action: “Presents! Disco light! Broken chairs! Roller skates! Ice cream! Chewed-up hats! Hot dogs! Confetti!” When the narrator decides that disobedient Pling’s services are no longer necessary, the party becomes glum and lifeless, with dispirited periods rather than exclamation points: “So much fun. All the fun you could have.” Finally, Pling is recalled to end things on a happy note—“but no getting carried away.” Children learning about punctuation can get a good sense of how to use the exclamation point through the contrasting situations that do and don’t call for emphasis. Haughee’s lesson goes down easy, with plenty of creative anarchy for kids to enjoy and sentences that beg to be vigorously read aloud. The skillful digital and acrylic illustrations by Holm are appropriately vibrant, fun, and varied.

Instructive but punctuated with excitement—a rousing read-aloud work.

Pub Date: April 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949935-14-1

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Orange Blossom Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2020

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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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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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. 2, 2021

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