The book’s final line resonates: “Remember— / only one.”

ONE EARTH

A counting book uses rhyming verses to explore the natural world and then ways children can help protect it.

“One wide sweeping sky. / Two honeybees. // Three bunnies in a nest. / Four redwood trees.” Readers follow in the pictures as a lone child with light-brown skin in a baseball cap slowly gathers three other friends over the page turns and the course of a day: a dark-skinned girl with an Afro, a pale-skinned blonde, and another boy with light-brown skin and (oddly) a bouffant. In the middle of the book, the count turns around: “Ten scraps of litter? / Toss them in the trash. / Nine empty bottles? / Turn them in for cash.” And so the four, separately and together, and with myriad family and diverse community members, explore ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Brilliant colors and detailed patterns draw eyes to the illustrations, which are the true stars here. Their vibrancy will entrance readers, who may not even bother to count. The counting is a vehicle, not the purpose, so the fact that the items may be challenging for younger readers to pick out doesn’t detract in the slightest. Readers may get goose bumps as the book winds down and night falls. “One moon. // One sun. / One Earth so beautiful.”

The book’s final line resonates: “Remember— / only one.” (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5460-1539-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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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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