There is so much feathered fun here, it’s pure poultry in motion.

COUNT YOUR CHICKENS

Unfolding in short, bouncy rhymes, this atypical counting book fills its pages with a flock of chickens enjoying a day at the county fair.

What distinguishes this counting book is that the number of chickens to count on each double-page spread is neither simple nor sequential. There are chickens everywhere, reminiscent of Richard Scarry, with as many as 35 or more chicks, hens, and roosters on the pages. They ride the Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, toss balls at the dunk tank and teddy bear booth, and cheer at the grasshopper-tart contest. The rhymes go down easy: “Chickens on the Ferris wheel / shriek with laughter, scream and squeal. / Chicken sister cannot speak— / cotton candy in her beak!” While the short rhymes relate the action, the boisterous chickens take center stage. Digitally colored pencil illustrations use small, simple shapes to describe the chickens, but they are individually dressed in a broad range of fair attire: plaid shirts, jeans, vests, frilly dresses. The chickens are depicted in a wide range of plumage colors, and details in the clothing make it possible to follow some chicks across pages. Visual puns will make adults giggle: the Dixie Chickens perform onstage, as do the Blues Brothers. Backmatter has a simple quiz with answers, but there is no key listing the actual count of chickens per spread.

There is so much feathered fun here, it’s pure poultry in motion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77049-792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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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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Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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