WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU?

This quirky picture book is sweet but overlong.

If someone wrote a book about you, what would happen in it?

Who would you be? What would you do? This rhyming, cheerily illustrated picture book offers some possible answers. You might, for example, travel on a broomstick or find yourself a magic wand. You might travel to outer space or the Arctic, or you may stay closer to home. You might do incredible, important things like rescuing royalty or giving huge speeches or tearing down walls. You might heal the world by curing polar bears of their blues or simply apologizing for something you did wrong. You might go on wild adventures that give you the opportunity to interact with walruses, dinosaurs, emus, yaks, and tea-sipping frogs. When you use your imagination and tell your own stories, there are endless possibilities for magic, mayhem, fun, and learning. The layered, geometric illustrations include cartoon characters with various skin tones inhabiting colorful, detailed worlds that burst with life and movement. The text has a call-and-response feel that lends itself to reading out loud. Some of the pages reference possible choices that could occur both in dreams and in real life, such as doing small kindnesses or choosing your own path. At times, however, the words feel repetitive, with, perhaps, scenarios added to fill out the page count rather than because they were strictly necessary. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 56.3% of actual size.)

This quirky picture book is sweet but overlong. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304150-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY FROM THE CRAYONS

A predictable series entry, mitigated as usual by the protagonists’ perennially energetic positivity.

A holiday-centered spinoff from the duo behind the inspired The Day the Crayons Quit (2013).

With Green Crayon on vacation, how can the waxy ones pull off a colorful St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Duncan, their (unseen) owner? Through their signature combo of cooperation and unwavering enthusiasm, of course. Blue and Yellow collaborate on a field of shamrocks that blends—however spottily—into green. Nearly invisible White Crayon supplies an otherwise unclothed light-skinned leprechaun with undies, and Orange draws a pair of pants that match the wee creature’s iconic beard and hair. Pink applies colors to a vest, and Purple, a natty jacket and boots. Chunky Toddler Crayon contributes a “perfect” scribbly blue hat; Beige and Brown team up for the leprechaun’s harp. In arguably the best bit, Black exuberantly manifests a decidedly unvariegated rainbow, while Gold’s pot of coins is right on the money, hue-wise. Their ardor undimmed by the holiday’s missing customary color, everyone assembles to party. Though the repartee among the crayons isn’t as developed as in previous outings, the book hews close to Daywalt and Jeffers’ winning formula, and there’s still enough here to keep readers chuckling. And, in a droll “wait for it” moment nicely calibrated for storytime, Green returns from vacation, sunglasses and suitcase in hand: “Did I miss anything while I was gone?” (The cover illustrations do hint at some Green-inflected remediation.)

A predictable series entry, mitigated as usual by the protagonists’ perennially energetic positivity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593624333

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

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