An acclaimed cartoonist in the adult world has created a solid hit for children.

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IT'S NOT EASY BEING NUMBER THREE

When Number Three feels bored with being a number, he seeks other uses for his highly distinguishable shape.

The language is direct, even edgy, but with child-accessible vocabulary and concepts. The first two double-page spreads, accompanied by engaging, colorful artwork, present the dilemma: “Do you know Number Three? I mean, do you really know Number Three? / You might think you do. After all, numbers are everywhere. But sometimes numbers get bored and want to do something else. And they really wish they could just quit being a number for a while. / That was exactly what Number Three did one day.” In tune with the needs of early readers, Number Three is spelled out in the text but is pictured as a large, often three-dimensional Arabic numeral. The illustrations invite children to find the familiar shape as Number Three tries such jobs as being a camel’s humps and a pair of eyeglasses. When he thinks he has found his ultimate calling as a sculpture, there is plenty of humor in the drawings depicting the end of that honeymoon, including the degradations inflicted by weather, pigeons, and dogs. Funniest of all is the state of chaos into which Number Three’s companion numbers have been thrown, until the inevitable, happy conclusion.

An acclaimed cartoonist in the adult world has created a solid hit for children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-208-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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