Parents with tantrum-prone youngsters may find a useful tool in this lesson-heavy tale.

PENELOPE WINDPIPES

A screaming tot learns that staying calm helps her win more friends in this picture book.

Penelope has the nickname Windpipes because her voice—when she’s screaming—is so loud the neighbors can hear her “10 blocks away!” Children run from her, and her grandfather turns down his hearing aid while visiting. When Penelope loses her voice in a case of laryngitis, she notices sounds that her screaming had covered up: “Penelope liked these sounds and wondered how long they’d been there.” Following the example of a new friend who remains calm in the face of teasing, Penelope learns to control her temper, giving her a chance to enjoy things she’d missed. Psychologist Lonczak’s previous books, such as Gus Becomes a Big Brother (2019), also have focused messages, but there’s no subtlety in this text-dense tale. Penelope’s tantrums are bad for everyone, and being tranquil instead of boisterous allows others to see how kind she is. The dichotomy leaves no room for behavior in the middle: Even when playing, Penelope accepts that “superheroes never scream and cry.” There’s also an unfortunate correlation between Penelope’s love of princesses and her poor behavior while her “tomboy” friend demonstrates good habits. In addition, Penelope’s brother is never scolded for egging her on. Still, parents with unruly children may find helpful tips here. And Vasconcelos’ kid-friendly cartoon illustrations use plenty of pastels to create detailed backgrounds and depict a diverse neighborhood.

Parents with tantrum-prone youngsters may find a useful tool in this lesson-heavy tale.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73446-872-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: IngramSpark

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2020

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

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.

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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