An adventurous, offbeat take on telling time.

THE TOCKS ON THE CLOCK

A girl visits creatures that live at each number of the clock in debut author/illustrator Richards’ picture book.

Desi, a girl with light-brown skin and dark-brown hair, explains that in the circular land where she lives, creatures called Tocks reside at each number of the clock face; with her dog and cat, she visits each one. First is the Phloon, a stringy, singing creature who lives on a dune at noon; she later takes a rowboat to see the octopuslike Gloor at 4 and ventures through a snowy forest to see the dangling, spiderlike Sline at 9. During her visits, Desi explains the Tocks’ traits, abilities, and personalities. Some are scary, but others are pleasant, such as the Thevin, a large, purple creature with a “toy train that / brings tea and lemon.” The trio returns to “where the Phloon stood at noon,” and at midnight, they receive good-night wishes from a giant, multicolored Zight. Young readers will enjoy the whimsical settings and the imaginative, engaging Tocks while familiarizing themselves with numbers and the hours of the clock. The brightly colored, cartoonlike illustrations include many fun details, as when Desi and her pets are seen dressed up for a posh party at the Thevin’s. Backdrops include quirky thematic elements, such as a wall decorated with the lyrics to “Hickory Dickory Dock.”

An adventurous, offbeat take on telling time.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73770-560-4

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Kintou Media Company

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2021

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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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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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