The colors are muted, grayed—but that's not the only way Crews' new book differs from Freight Train, Truck, etc. For one thing, it's mostly an album of types of ships found in a harbor, each precisely rendered. The types are identified on a page of silhouetted "Ship Shapes" at the close—which the parent asked "what's this?" might have liked to know about at the beginning. That's especially true of the occasional spread that names several types without identifying them (e.g., "Liners, tankers, tugboats, barges, and freighters"). A similar problem of knowing what's what occurs with the opening spread: we see the harbor whole, read the words "Wharves, docks, piers, and warehouses"—but how many adults can distinguish between a wharf, a pier, and a dock? (As it happens, the one label, "Harbor Piers," is on the pier buildings—which some might interpret as warehouses.) The reason these fine points matter is that, spread by spread, there is almost no conceptual content; the two exceptions are a scene of identical tugboats going in opposite directions ("They do not need to turn around. The back becomes the front"); and a scene of two tugs and two barges which clearly illustrates "Tugs push. Tugs tow." As for the visual excitement, it's concentrated at the close—when we see a fireboat, "ready for an emergency" at the dock, then shoot water in all directions. . . for "a celebration." Much of this, however, approaches the here-and-now norm—executed with greater flair.

Pub Date: March 15, 1982

ISBN: 0688073328

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: April 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1982

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Local readers may love this, but others will probably want to give it a miss.


From the Naturally Local series

In this board book, Mullen (The Colors of Ancient Egypt, 2016) brings readers the vibrant colors of the vegetation and wildlife common to the Pacific Northwest: flowers, birds, animals, a fish, and a mushroom.

Each color is featured on a double-page spread, with the name of the color in capital letters and the capitalized name of the organism along with an illustration on one side and an additional, full-page image of the organism on the other. This book features unusual color pairings. Some of them may be more familiar, at least in broad strokes, to toddlers (silver coho salmon, green Douglas fir, white bald eagle, black bear), than others (red sapsucker, blue camas, brown pine marten, yellow chanterelle mushroom, pink bleeding heart). The digitally created illustrations are large, vibrant, and graphically stylized, with colorful patterned backgrounds. The unrealistic illustrations of chanterelles look like flowers in one view and yellow cupcakes in the other, and only the heads of the sapsucker and bald eagle are their respective colors, which may be confusing. This board book may be useful for young readers in that part of the country; however readers elsewhere may want to stick with such favorites as Tad Hills’ Colors! (2015), Divya Srinivasan’s Little Owl’s Colors (2015) and Simms Taback’s Colors (2009).

Local readers may love this, but others will probably want to give it a miss. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-938093-80-7

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Duo Press

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.



A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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