A unique venture between two friends, who happen to be famous artists. In a simple cumulative tale of friendship, a dog, a cat, a rooster, a goat, a rabbit, and a child repeatedly pose the question and answer of the title. What makes this book singular is that Carle’s characters are marching along from front to back, left to right, in typical Western style. At the middle, the story is joined in a broad open-out, four-page spread by Iwamura’s story that is a mirror image of Carle’s, the exception being that the child in Carle’s story is a boy and Iwamura’s is a girl. The boy and girl greet each other with hands extended in symbolic greeting. This works ingeniously because the Iwamura story is told from back to front and right to left as is typical of Japanese books. When the Carle characters and the Iwamura characters meet in the middle, they merge and mingle in a merry frolic. Carle’s figures are created with his recognizably bold collage technique. Iwamura’s sweet-faced, gently rounded figures are painted in soft watercolors that contrast nicely with Carle’s more vibrant palette. Carle’s text is in English, while Iwamura’s is written in Japanese characters accompanied by a pronunciation guide. Short, informative essays by Carle and Iwamura, which describe their collaboration, are printed inside the book jacket, which may, unfortunately, render them inaccessible to library patrons. Since Japanese animal sounds have an interesting onomatopoetic difference from our own, while Westerners would need to rehearse to give the Japanese story a lively cadence that would hold the attention of the youngest listeners, this would make a wonderful opportunity for tandem reading in a bilingual story time. This will be especially welcome in communities with a Japanese population. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-439-41659-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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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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As ephemeral as a valentine.


Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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