A sadly missed opportunity to show kids the real nuts and bolts of construction.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A TOOLBOX?

TV designers and builders Carrino and Colaneri, aka “The Cousins,” teach a bunch of preschoolers how to use tools to build a playground.

The men introduce the children to safety precautions and emphasize the need for adult supervision. They show various tools in action—a wrench, bolts, a shovel, a screwdriver, a tape measure, a level, a hammer and nails, a saw, a drill, a ladder, and paintbrushes—and the kids watch raptly and run around. The pencil-and-watercolor vignettes are attractively busy and convey the excitement of the project, but too many details are missing or inaccurate to adequately explain the building process. The text states “We use a wrench and bolts to assemble the swing set,” but the swing set looks finished (there is a kid on a swing), and there is no visible explanation of the mechanics of this operation. Readers learn that “a screwdriver turns a screw to fasten the cargo net,” but there is no demonstration of how the screwdriver (held by a squirrel) is intended to be used or what a screw is. Descriptions are inaccurate: A tape measure is used “to measure how tall to make the slide”—but in fact it is to calculate where the slide needs to be attached. A level is used to “make sure the monkey bars are straight,” but “straight” does not sufficiently convey the concept of “level.”

A sadly missed opportunity to show kids the real nuts and bolts of construction. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0296-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more