A book that at first glance might seem minimalist to the point of vacuity bears closer scrutiny when one appreciates the...

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WINDBLOWN

Where do the seven colored shapes come from, and whose are they?

As the shapes come blowing across the clean, white pages, the chicken, the fish, the bird, the snail and the frog each in turn claim them using simple repetitive phrases. "They're mine!" says the chicken, created when the shapes arrange themselves in the form of its head. "I saw them lying around!" But it turns out only the wind has the power to transform the puzzlelike paper shapes into the bodies of each creature and to finally blow them high in the air so readers can “catch” them and make their own (imaginary) collages. The shapes arrange themselves differently on each page to challenge children to see them as different animals. French illustrator Manceau makes extravagant use of white space; the page opposite the text that reveals the wind’s role in the drama is amusingly blank. The typeface looks light and insubstantial in relation to the strong graphic line of the illustrations. The text reads clumsily in places, possibly a poor translation from the French original, and is so sparse that some spreads are unsatisfying.

A book that at first glance might seem minimalist to the point of vacuity bears closer scrutiny when one appreciates the function the paper shapes can have in allowing a child to identify them in different orientations and even to practice counting . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-926973-77-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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