BLAST OFF!

From the Fluorescent Pop! series

Fluorescent outer space? The series continues to be a color scheme in search of an appropriate subject.

An extraterrestrial travels by rocket ship through a psychedelic universe.

The space creature, who wears a helmet through most of the book, enjoys a snack, marvels at a shooting star, and passes by a colorful array of planets. When this voyager arrives at what looks to be a space station, the text reads: “Where is everyone?” The page turn reveals a wild assortment of space creatures welcoming home the protagonist, who has now removed the helmet to show green skin, an orange nose, and bugle-shaped ears. Minimal text of one or two sentences per page captions each double-page scene. As with other titles in the Fluorescent Pop! series, the art is a dizzying explosion of color with Day-Glo oranges, intense yellows, radioactive greens, and hot pinks. While the planets and the shooting star are invitingly illustrated, the rocket's control room has so much going on with buttons, dials, screens, cords, and even a floating slice of pizza it proves a difficult image to read. A companion book, The Sweetest Treats, features more of the same brightly hued illustration style to catalog a variety of sugar-sweet treats. Those readers not concerned about the calorie count and the use of artificial coloring in these goodies may still find lime-green ice cream and fuchsia cupcakes less than appetizing.

Fluorescent outer space? The series continues to be a color scheme in search of an appropriate subject. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0221-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

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. 1, 2021

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