A BOOK OF LOVE

A nice sentiment marred somewhat by its forced verse.

A how-to book of love.

Valentine’s Day brings a new crop of books each year about love, including at least one that attempts to define and exemplify love. This is that book for 2020. “We often show our love with touch, / like a great big hug or kiss. / But there are lots of ways to show you care, / and ideas not to miss.” These include being patient, listening to someone who’s having a tough day, gifts, kind deeds (like washing the dishes), “forgiving and forgetting,” sharing with siblings, standing up for people, and looking past faults. In some cases, the pictures may not aid much in comprehension, especially with the younger audience the rhymes are meant to appeal to: “To offer a gentle word or two, / and consider how others feel, / are both examples of selfless acts / that prove your love is real” (one child cheers on a frightened soloist at a recital—does that really illustrate selflessness?). The meter is sometimes off, and in a few cases it’s clear words were chosen for rhyme rather than meaning. Bright illustrations fill the pages with adorable children readers can trace throughout the book. The final two spreads are the strongest: One depicts a robustly diverse crowd of people all holding hands and smiling; the other is a starry spread over a neighborhood full of homes, hearts spangling the sky.

A nice sentiment marred somewhat by its forced verse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9331-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY FROM THE CRAYONS

A predictable series entry, mitigated as usual by the protagonists’ perennially energetic positivity.

A holiday-centered spinoff from the duo behind the inspired The Day the Crayons Quit (2013).

With Green Crayon on vacation, how can the waxy ones pull off a colorful St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Duncan, their (unseen) owner? Through their signature combo of cooperation and unwavering enthusiasm, of course. Blue and Yellow collaborate on a field of shamrocks that blends—however spottily—into green. Nearly invisible White Crayon supplies an otherwise unclothed light-skinned leprechaun with undies, and Orange draws a pair of pants that match the wee creature’s iconic beard and hair. Pink applies colors to a vest, and Purple, a natty jacket and boots. Chunky Toddler Crayon contributes a “perfect” scribbly blue hat; Beige and Brown team up for the leprechaun’s harp. In arguably the best bit, Black exuberantly manifests a decidedly unvariegated rainbow, while Gold’s pot of coins is right on the money, hue-wise. Their ardor undimmed by the holiday’s missing customary color, everyone assembles to party. Though the repartee among the crayons isn’t as developed as in previous outings, the book hews close to Daywalt and Jeffers’ winning formula, and there’s still enough here to keep readers chuckling. And, in a droll “wait for it” moment nicely calibrated for storytime, Green returns from vacation, sunglasses and suitcase in hand: “Did I miss anything while I was gone?” (The cover illustrations do hint at some Green-inflected remediation.)

A predictable series entry, mitigated as usual by the protagonists’ perennially energetic positivity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593624333

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

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. 1, 2021

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