For color wranglers and windblown spirits everywhere.

SWATCH

THE GIRL WHO LOVED COLOR

Swatch is a color whisperer.

On bright white backgrounds, “in a place where colors ran wild,” Swatch—skinny, almond-eyed, and peach-skinned, with a striped shirt and ever changing headbands—tames swaths of color as if they’re animals. She bends and leaps, creeps and crouches; she stands on a fire hydrant and stretches impossibly upward to reach inky blue sky. Colors gush and burst around her—are they emanating from her hands and brushes or borne on the breeze? She hunts them wherever they are: “Bravest Green shot up the first week of March,” while “In-Between Gray lived on her kitten’s leg.” Denos’ text is fierce and crisp, her color-characters wondrous. Using a tight range of hue with spellbinding shapes and textures in watercolor, ink, and pencil, she creates a blue squall swirling with movement, simultaneously watery, sharp, and gusting. A yellow yawns and billows, part wind, part fox, part sunlight—but also purring and buttery. Despite Swatch’s label as a “tamer,” the colors all live free, visiting her of their own accord—“until the day she lured Just-Laid Blue straight from its nest and into a jam jar.” Now she’s trapping colors in glass jars, where they circle restlessly. But Yellowest Yellow, the last uncaptured color, shines bright on a sidewalk flower; they converse, and Swatch remembers about freedom.

For color wranglers and windblown spirits everywhere. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-236638-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to...

PUMPKIN COUNTDOWN

A class visits the pumpkin patch, giving readers a chance to count down from 20.

At the farm, Farmer Mixenmatch gives them the tour, which includes a petting zoo, an educational area, a corn maze and a tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. Holub’s text cleverly though not always successfully rhymes each child’s name within the line: “ ‘Eighteen kids get on our bus,’ says Russ. / ‘But someone’s late,’ says Kate. / ‘Wait for me!’ calls Kiri.” Pumpkins at the tops of pages contain the numerals that match the text, allowing readers to pair them with the orange-colored, spelled-out numbers. Some of the objects proffered to count are a bit of a stretch—“Guess sixteen things we’ll see,” count 14 cars that arrived at the farm before the bus—but Smith’s artwork keeps things easy to count, except for a challenging page that asks readers to search for 17 orange items (answers are at the bottom, upside down). Strangely, Holub includes one page with nothing to count—a sign marks “15 Pumpkin Street.” Charming, multicultural round-faced characters and lots of detail encourage readers to go back through the book scouring pages for the 16 things the kids guessed they might see. Endpapers featuring a smattering of pumpkin facts round out the text.

Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to many library shelves. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6660-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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