HUMPTY DUMPTY

In this happy-ending remake of the nursery rhyme, a boy king gets over his shyness by doing himself what all his horses and men couldn't. Having put his fragile shell in danger several times to watch a parade, Humpty pays the price at last with a shattering tumble into the king's carriage. Reassembled with a few Band-Aids, Humpty recovers so quickly that not even a crack is visible by the next page. There another kind of bonding ensues as Humpty praises the king for being thoughtful and patient (readers may wonder why, since he doesn't display either trait), and the king admires his ovoid new friend's courage, which looks more like recklessness from here. The cut-out photos of faces and other details tucked into Kirk's (Moondogs, 1999, etc.) tidy, smooth-surfaced paintings will prompt double takes from viewers, and some chuckles, but the trite plot and long, monotonously rhymed text will get a polite reception at best. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-399-23332-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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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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A BIRTHDAY FOR COW!

Thomas scores again after What Will Fat Cat Sit On? (2007) with another droll crowd-pleaser for the OshKosh B’Gosh set. Scornfully rejecting Duck’s hilariously persistent efforts to add a turnip, Pig and Mouse create a luscious cake—only to find themselves saddled with eating it themselves (not that they mind) when Cow obliviously falls on Duck’s turnip, rapturously declaring this birthday the best one ever. Punctuated by punch-line words (usually “TURNIP”) in red, the huge, pithy text is paired to simply drawn figures that spill past the edges, and often seem ready to pop right up from the page. From the calendar countdown on the front endpapers (Cow’s birthday is October 17th, if you’re curious) to a closing joke on the rear ones about using turnips as toothbrushes, this riotous read-aloud is guaranteed to have them rolling in the aisles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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