It’s great to be able to count on something; readers can count on both the sun and Graham.

HOW THE SUN GOT TO COCO'S HOUSE

The sun takes readers on a world tour as it makes its way to each new dawning horizon.

It is dark when Coco crawls into bed for the night, but the sun is getting busy elsewhere. It greets polar bear cubs and a fishing vessel in the cold northern waters. It reflects off a whale’s eye and the bell of the paperboy’s bicycle. It lights the way through a Siberian forest, heats a yurt, crawls down an alley in China, “and waited patiently outside an old lady’s window to be let in.” The sun sparks a rainbow and dazzles a puddle. Then, sure as the world turns, it crawls in through Coco’s window, joins the family for breakfast, and after “such a dash, the sun had time on its hands. So did Coco! So did Coco’s friends!” Graham brings a little sentiment to the procession but only enough to light sympathy for all the characters on parade. The drawings are deftly unfussy, with an easy command of the watercolors. Their deliberate pacing recalls Mitsumasa Anno, and in their grand compass they are like a big, Whitmanesque hug. The story ends with a bird’s-eye view of a factory town, a shaft of sunlight slicing down to Coco’s yard and a new snow having fallen, with hoses and lawn mowers caught by surprise.

It’s great to be able to count on something; readers can count on both the sun and Graham. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8109-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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