A chipper frolic through nature’s colorful palette.

SUMMER COLOR!

An extended family gathers on the porch of a country home to enjoy cool lemonade and time together on a hot summer day.

Two kids run off to gleefully explore the colorful countryside. However, when a sudden summer storm pops up, they must race home to avoid being caught in the downpour. While many first concept books that teach colors use a repetitive format (simply introducing objects and their corresponding colors without much emphasis on story), this book weaves color into an already engaging plot. The pace of the rhyming text perfectly matches the action; it meanders a bit as the family members arrive and greet one another in the hot sun and then quickens as the storm approaches. Both text and illustrations are celebratory of rural life in general; the mentions of peaches and egrets call to mind the southeastern United States specifically. The full-bleed illustrations are lively and saturated. They neatly depict the menacing darkness that takes over the sky with the arrival of a summer storm without becoming scary. However, the exact relationships of the characters depicted are unclear at times (there are three children, so why do two leave one behind?), which unfortunately confuses the text rather than enhancing it. Still, the book is well-crafted and appealing, and the conscientious attention to diversity in both race and family structure makes it noteworthy.

A chipper frolic through nature’s colorful palette. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-37094-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

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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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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