A must-read-aloud text with memorable characters—Underwood and Hart make a perfect pair.


A playful pup, 10 mischievous mice, and some fashionable footwear unite in this seemingly simple counting book.

Hart pays homage to One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish with clever rhyming text that channels the classic on its opening spreads. But in lieu of fish are shoes as seen from a dog’s-eye view as footwear of varying styles, shades, and purpose step past the frolicking pup on its walk. Home again, canine curiosity is piqued as mice scramble and scurry, one by one, to occupy the various shoes. Onomatopoeia offers clues as to the mice’s whereabouts, and readers will delight in the floppy-eared dog’s search for them. With one lick it scatters the plump white rodents before heading out on another walk. While the nonlinear text begs to be read aloud, it’s Underwood’s skillful compositions and expressive characters that propel the sequencing of events, bringing the tale full circle. Done in pencil and marker with paper and digital collage, the graphically simplified shapes showcase the artist’s ability to execute form and design. Reminiscent of M. Sasek, Mary Blair, and other artists influenced by post–World War II optimism, Underwood’s nostalgic interpretation of modern living channels a visual style associated with feelings of opportunity and prosperity, appealing to readers of all ages.

A must-read-aloud text with memorable characters—Underwood and Hart make a perfect pair. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0094-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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