This exuberant vehicle will expand the thinking of those just beginning to comprehend clocks and calendars.

A series of thoughtful metaphors and diverse characters takes viewers through the manifold dimensions of time.

In how to (2013), Morstad playfully portrays concepts both invisible (the breeze, bravery) and discernible (washing socks). In this companion volume, she tackles time. Like a spiderweb, time is difficult to see; like cut hair, it disappears after growth. Minutes move slowly at school and speed by as a wave knocks over a sand castle. Morstad’s lyrical language is perfectly paced: “Time is a song. / Dancing you quick!” These lines are paired with three solitary figures in dresses, each superimposed on itself several times in variations of movement and tonality. Across the gutter, the text reads: “Or pulling you, / long and stretching, / slow and low, / to the sound of a cello.” Here a Black child is shown in an interlocking sequence of nine steps, each iteration contributing to a rainbow effect. Assorted colors (with a cheerful magenta playing a prominent role), sizes, and patterns create visual pleasure and make the abstract concrete, while solid, spacious backgrounds prompt contemplation. The spread showing that “Time is a sunbeam…” contrasts a sleeping cat in the warm shadows cast by plants at a sunlit window with the facing page’s black silhouettes and a repositioned animal absorbing changed light.

This exuberant vehicle will expand the thinking of those just beginning to comprehend clocks and calendars. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6754-1

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021


As ephemeral as a valentine.

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. 1, 2021


While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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