While colorfully executed, this conveys a message about colors that not every youngster may get.

READ REVIEW

COLORS

Colors beautify the world.

“When long ago the world was young and everything was new,” things were bleak and needed prettying up. As told through this creation (rather than concept) tale and narrated via rhyme that is more enthusiastic than it is graceful, a red-haired, white male maestro leads a team of enthusiastic paints in jars in tackling that job. And go at the world with gusto the colors do, each taking on natural topographical features, foods, heavenly bodies, plants, and animals and imbuing them with their now-familiar hues. Some things remain colorless, however—to prepare humankind for the appearance of gorgeous rainbows and a powerful message: All colors are beautiful, bring unity, and “we find our best selves there.” Nice point, though the story takes a meandering time reaching it. The child-appealing illustrations are energetic but pose their own challenges. The book’s child characters are racially diverse, but two apparently Asian characters display unfortunate stereotypes, as they usually appear with closed eyes. Moreover, the male, who seems to represent a Pacific Islander, is portrayed as rotund, with yellowish-brown skin, wears an animal-tooth necklace and a loincloth, and brandishes flaming torches. Some readers may also note the odd portrayal of the (literal) leader of the paints: Why is he depicted as a musical conductor and not an artist?

While colorfully executed, this conveys a message about colors that not every youngster may get. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1464-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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A sprightly and charming modern take on a traditional rhyme.

THE THREE LITTLE KITTENS

This adaptation of a traditional English nursery rhyme features a contemporary setting, dialogue, and a small twist.

Three anthropomorphized kittens wearing conspicuous, colorful mittens (but no other clothing) are seen outside a cozy suburban house, skateboarding, playing ball, and skipping rope. A sweet scent wafts from an open window, through which a smiling cat in a dotted apron can be seen removing a pie from the oven. In their race to the door the kittens lose their mittens, of course, and the story unfolds from there. In some cases, the rhymes appear in dialogue balloons, at other times as part of the main text, both of which also include additional, original lines. Unexpected interjections add humor, as when the kittens react to the mess they’ve made by eating blueberry pie while wearing mittens: “ ‘Ooops!’ ‘Eeew!’ ‘Gross!’ ” Created with pencil, watercolor, and gouache, McClintock’s feline portraits pack plenty of personality. Big-footed and slightly round-bellied, the variously colored kittens have big eyes and sweet smiles. Mother, meanwhile, is slim and sleek, with extremely expressive whiskers. The setting is simply presented, limited to the outside of the house, inside the kitchen, and at the table. At times the characters appear against blank, softly colored backgrounds. Alternating double-page spreads, single pages, and occasional panels add interest and move the action along smoothly. Sharp-eyed listeners may notice an additional character whose presence is acknowledged in the cheerful conclusion.

A sprightly and charming modern take on a traditional rhyme. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-12587-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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