All the photos are diverting, but the conceptual premise stumbles.


Pairs of bold, quirky photographs from varied locations illustrate contrasting concepts.

An aerial-photography specialist focuses on waterscapes, landscapes, and animals, sometimes unusually enhanced. Settings (named under each photo) include Bolivia, the Caribbean, the Pacific, Antarctica, and a hotel in Palm Springs, California, complete with fantastical animal inhabitants, previously featured in Malin’s Be Our Guest! (2018). The most intriguing photos are of llamas in Salar de Uyuni, a Bolivian salt flat. The woolly animals have traditional wool tassels hanging from their ears and, sometimes, quite untraditional large balloons surrounding their bodies. Two llamas, one black, one white, each covered in matching balloons, dominate the jacket. The spectacular large balloons show up again inside the book, where one llama with pink balloons stands opposite two others, also draped in pink. The intense blue sky, the white salt surface, and the pink balloons are striking, but the concept words “ALONE” and “TOGETHER” in embossed block capital letters across the photos’ middles distract from the strong visuals. Unfortunately this same layout is used throughout. While many coupled images artfully represent the simple concepts being introduced, others don’t work as well. Two flamingos labeled with the word “FEATHERS” are next to a tiger labeled “FUR.” An elephant surrounded by tall, balloon-festooned shrubs opposite a bunch of balloons rising in the salt flat, labeled “HEAVY” and “LIGHT,” respectively, is positively opaque.

All the photos are diverting, but the conceptual premise stumbles. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3970-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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