Look for winces of sympathy and steady streams of laughter from young readers.

I REALLY HAVE TO GO!

Bladder pressure drives a lad to desperate measures in this short but suspenseful import.

Weighing in at just 12 pages, young Brian’s increasingly frantic quest for relief nonetheless gushes with hilarity. His ride from school is cut short by a flat tire, both the “toilet” and the “bathroom” at home are occupied, the neighbors can’t hear him and he gets a hostile reception from a prickly bush. At last a tree that a dog is also watering provides a spot for sweet relief—followed by public embarrassment when he turns prematurely to watch a parade marching into view. Originally published in 2009 in the Netherlands, this digital version offers both text and (optional) audio narration in five languages, plus word-by-word highlighting. The conversion isn’t seamless, as each urban scene (done, appropriately, in watercolors) takes up a screen and a half and has to be dragged from side to side to be viewed in its entirety. Still, navigation is easy. Brian is discreetly angled in the cartoon art, and a continuing track of music or quiet urban noises (enhanced by several touch-activated sounds and small animations in each scene) backs up a comically expressive narration.

Look for winces of sympathy and steady streams of laughter from young readers. (iPad storybook app. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2010

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Piccolo Picture Books

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

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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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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