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This highly original and thought-provoking picture book will appeal to the peek-a-boo sensibilities of the youngest readers...

The funny little white bird is almost invisible against his white background, unnoticed and, consequently, sad.

He discovers that by gathering materials from his surroundings—feathers, leaves, stalks, flowers—he can make himself look more like an ordinary bird and also become visible. Unfortunately, this can also draw unwanted attention from predators. Strutting along proudly with his newfound accoutrements, he is immediately noticed by a fox, and he only escapes by hastily abandoning his treasures and becoming invisible again. After this experience, he discovers a virtue in his invisibility. He can hide himself and also protect other creatures from harm. The moral of this Aesopian tale, simply told, is that it is more rewarding to be a good friend than to show off. In a constant play with positive/negative space, the artist explores with gentle humor the meaning of identity, both visual and metaphorical. Until he learns to use his surroundings appropriately, the bird is defined only by his environment. Once he understands the ways of the world, he can create his own identity. A flat, decorative style, delicate brushwork and a light, controlled palette in refreshing, springlike colors characterize Yerkes’ illustrations.

This highly original and thought-provoking picture book will appeal to the peek-a-boo sensibilities of the youngest readers and also have aesthetic appeal for parents. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-40228-013-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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