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

READ REVIEW

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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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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A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall

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THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES

This book may not have pictures, but it’s sure to inspire lots of conversations—and laughs.

Television writer, actor and comedian Novak delivers a rare find, indeed: a very good celebrity picture book. It doesn’t even seem fair to call it such, since it has nothing to do with his Emmy Award–winning writing for The Office or the fame his broader career has afforded him. The jacket flap even eschews a glossy photo, instead saying “B.J. has brown hair and blue eyes,” in order to keep with the book’s central conceit. What this book does have is text, and it’s presented through artful typography that visually conveys its changing tone to guide oral readings. Furthermore, the text implies (or rather, demands) a shared reading transaction, in which an adult is compelled to read the text aloud, no matter how “COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS” it is. Employing direct address, it pleads with the implied child listener to allow him or her to stop reading. Nonsense words, silly words to be sung and even a smattering of potty talk for good measure all coalesce in riotous read-aloud fare. Although the closing pages beg the implied child reader to “please please please please / please / choose a book with pictures” for subsequent reading, it’s likely that this request will be ignored.

A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall . (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4171-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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