A challenging search-and-find adventure.

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THE LOST COUSINS

Grandad, Esmé, and Tate search for their cousins in this latest outing from Cronin.

As Grandad peruses a photo album, Esmé and Tate discover photos (reproduced in the frontispiece for visual reference) of “long-lost” cousins Yuki, Jada, Awan, and Luis. The intrepid trio set out to find the cousins, traveling by boat to the icy place where Yuki lives in a fanciful, three-story igloo and then by train, looking for Awan in a watery landscape of bridges and boats. Next, they strap into a plane, flying above rainbow-striped hills where Luis lives. Finally, they cross the sand atop a camel to Jada’s desert town. Following a family reunion and group photo, Grandad discovers they’ve lost their goggles, canteen, whistle, compass, telescope, and sailor hat (all visually reproduced to aid detection) along the way and must retrace their steps to find the missing gear. Once again, Cronin (The Lost Christmas, 2018, etc.) orchestrates cunning visual challenges, directly inviting readers to search four distinct, amazingly detailed, surreal landscapes to locate Yuki, Jada, Awan, and Luis and then double back to find the diabolically concealed lost items. Forming mazes of pattern and line, psychedelic acrylic illustrations beg close inspection of wonderland details and nonsensical juxtapositions. It is a pity that this canine extended family’s search rests upon stereotypically exotic cues, however.

A challenging search-and-find adventure. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-4514-7908-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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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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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