Lovely to look at; profound to ponder.

LINE AND SCRIBBLE

Can opposites coexist? This picture book presents its refreshing take.

Line is straight, Scribble is not. Line makes straight drops of rain; Scribble makes lightning and whirlwinds. Line has elegantly straight fur, Scribble is fluffy. They spar (in a friendly way) back and forth, each presenting its own take on things. Line “tightens the electrical wires,” and then Scribble “bursts into fireworks.” Line “draws with a ruler” while Scribble “zigzags” and “dreams.” And eventually, in this inventive story, readers begin to realize how Line and Scribble complement, enrich, and ultimately define each other. Author Vogrig’s taut, spare narrative leaves ample space for readers to see their own personalities in the story while Valentinis’ illustrations of simple black lines accented with details of red on rich white paper do a superb job of presenting just enough and not too much, encouraging the engagement of readers’ imaginations. The clean sans-serif typeface is also red, visually tying the book’s design together. As the tension of the story escalates, the font size increases—a highly effective (and fun to read aloud) design aspect. Beyond enjoying the straightforward accomplishments of Line and the spontaneous creativity of Scribble, readers may arrive at a deeper understanding of their own unique qualities and how difference contributes to the richness and variety of friendships and diversity.

Lovely to look at; profound to ponder. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7972-0187-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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