Full to bursting, juicy, never jammed.




Poems and eclectic tidbits about colors.

Although it maintains a superficially traditional approach of highlighting one hue per spread—sort of! sometimes!—this quirky colorfest is anything but standard. Free-spirited poems follow no particular structure: “Loudly, rowdy / daffodils yell hello. / Hot yellow” is the short, tongue-twisty first. A blue bear mourns spilled blueberries in patter that begs participation: “Oh, what did I do? / Blue-hoo, / Blue-hoo!” A verdant expanse exudes warmth and the “Green smell of a summer lawn. / Damp dawn long gone.” A second green poem features a hilarious dragon-and-ogre food chain; equally funny, a paintbrush-holding cat offers the esoteric terms “alizarin,” “cadmium,” and “quinacridone” to a dog in overalls, who responds, pithily, “Red.” Paschkis’ gouache-on-paper illustrations are elegant, playful, and expressively variable from page to page—each spread displays a new style and mood, including a wavy, all-encompassing ocean, a sad, slightly eerie minimalist forest, and a sated pig reclining on a hillside after a mouthwatering picnic. Across from the poems sit informational tidbits: etymology of “green” from “grene” and “growan”; the more yellow plants a chicken eats, the deeper yellow their eggs’ yolks are; where dye comes from. Hardcore science, including light refraction, will float over many readers’ heads, but there is no harm done. The assertion that the “Himba tribe of Namibia still has no word for orange” verges on exoticization and, unfortunately, is located on a spread with monkeys.

Full to bursting, juicy, never jammed. (author’s note) (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-12229-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.


More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.


Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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