It is worth noting that this title is printed and bound in the United States and that its paper is labeled “from responsible...

COZY LIGHT, COZY NIGHT

The idea of “cozy”—hyggelig in Danish and Gemütlichkeit in German but not so nuanced in English—is what drives this deliciously illustrated, rhymed seasonal tale.

The pictures are a riot of color and pattern. Readers move through the seasons, starting with autumn, with items one might not think of as cozy but that definitely are: “Cozy toes in fuzzy boots, cozy pits in purple fruits.” Several families of varying ethnicities populate these pages, and their activities display coziness: mom playing the banjo; dad at a sewing machine; everyone collecting a pumpkin in the rain. Braided loaves of bread, popcorn popping and Grandma tickling the belly of a pajama-clad toddler are all cozy. So are bugs in their flowers and keys in their pockets. Sometimes the rhyme doesn’t quite catch, and sometimes it stretches beyond, but the images of “[c]ozy matzo balls in soup” or a scoop of ice cream cozy in its cone are pretty cute. Winter opens with three children on a quilted, padded window seat, watching the snow fall, while a parent in the kitchen flips hot cakes. The children’s pajamas, the hall rug, snow falling on the rainbow-colored cityscape—all make a kaleidoscope of pattern that one can return to again and again. Every page is like that.

It is worth noting that this title is printed and bound in the United States and that its paper is labeled “from responsible sources.” That would not help a less effective tale, but it truly enhances this 32-page delight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-939547-02-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to...

PUMPKIN COUNTDOWN

A class visits the pumpkin patch, giving readers a chance to count down from 20.

At the farm, Farmer Mixenmatch gives them the tour, which includes a petting zoo, an educational area, a corn maze and a tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. Holub’s text cleverly though not always successfully rhymes each child’s name within the line: “ ‘Eighteen kids get on our bus,’ says Russ. / ‘But someone’s late,’ says Kate. / ‘Wait for me!’ calls Kiri.” Pumpkins at the tops of pages contain the numerals that match the text, allowing readers to pair them with the orange-colored, spelled-out numbers. Some of the objects proffered to count are a bit of a stretch—“Guess sixteen things we’ll see,” count 14 cars that arrived at the farm before the bus—but Smith’s artwork keeps things easy to count, except for a challenging page that asks readers to search for 17 orange items (answers are at the bottom, upside down). Strangely, Holub includes one page with nothing to count—a sign marks “15 Pumpkin Street.” Charming, multicultural round-faced characters and lots of detail encourage readers to go back through the book scouring pages for the 16 things the kids guessed they might see. Endpapers featuring a smattering of pumpkin facts round out the text.

Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to many library shelves. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6660-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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