A picture book made to incite pleasure and joy.

THE NONSENSE SHOW

The celebrated picture-book artist enthusiastically joins the nonsense tradition. 

Carle’s nearly 50-year career has produced myriad concept books about counting, the alphabet, and colors, as well as simple, original stories, retellings of fairy tales, and picture books that push the physical boundaries of the form. This latest proves that Carle can reinvent himself as a creator in the field, as he now revels in the absurd, eschewing any pretense of teaching a concept or even engaging with story. Instead, spread after spread uses nonsensical text and sublimely ridiculous pictures to provoke laughter and head-shaking delight. In addition to the book’s title, art immediately cues the book’s silly tone: the cover displays one of Carle’s signature collages against an empty white background; it depicts a duckling emerging from a peeled-back banana peel. The title-page art presents a deer sprouting flowers rather than antlers from its head. When the book proper begins, and language joins illustration, readers are ushered into a series of situations and scenarios that upend expectations and play with conventions. “Ouch! Who’s that in my pouch?” asks a kangaroo with a little blond child instead of a joey in her pouch. Another scene shows two snakes, joined at the middle and looking for their respective tails.

A picture book made to incite pleasure and joy. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17687-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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