Despite unevenness in the total package, many families will doubtless be smitten with Collins’ intricate tableaux—and...


Collins, whose Flora Forager brand has yielded adult books and a large Instagram following, presents her first children’s title.

Utilizing petals, seeds, foliage, and other botanical bits, Collins constructs an animal abecedary from angelfish to zebra. After a four-line introduction, the text consists of the animals’ names with their initial upper- and lowercase letters printed large in the upper corners of the pages. The author cleverly exploits her materials’ textures, shapes, and color gradations in compositions arranged against pastel backgrounds. The yak’s petal-filled amber coat is appropriately shaggy, and the succulents used to create the elephant endow it with a rounded (albeit greenish) form. Some of the most charming depictions are of animal groups. Illustrating “Quail,” a parent and three chicks sport pansy-petal faces and fiddlehead topknots as they file past an assemblage of pale green hellebore blooms, ferns, and ivy. Compositions are not evenly successful, however. For “Giraffe” and “Turtle,” Collins snips petals and blooms to approximate the angular patterns of their respective hide and shell; these look less integrated than other depictions, such as “Zebra.” There’s no correspondence in size among the animals, and two fanciful creatures (“Dragon” and “Unicorn”) are included. While “I” is for a generic “Insect” (evidently a type of beetle), ever pesky “X” is for “Xerus inaurus (Cape ground squirrel).”

Despite unevenness in the total package, many families will doubtless be smitten with Collins’ intricate tableaux—and perhaps be inspired to forage and create their own compositions. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-209-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


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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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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