Conceptually murky, visually dull.

READ REVIEW

WHEN PENCIL MET THE MARKERS

From the When Pencil Met Eraser series

A group of pens banishes one of their own in this companion to When Pencil Met Eraser (2019).

All members of this pack of markers love to color, but Purple’s technique stands out. Purple colors “everywhere”—“all over the place.” This means several things: Going outside the lines of the coloring book these markers seem to inhabit; coloring in entire scenes purple, including things that aren’t naturally purple, like a dolphin; and adding shapes or ideas that weren’t invited by the pre-drawn outlines, such as dots to a rainbow or a face to a hot air balloon. Huffily, the marker group ejects Purple. Purple meets an outsider—or two outsiders, for what first looks like a pencil with two faces is in fact a pencil with a ride-atop eraser who sometimes hops off. The pencil and Purple supposedly create a whole new approach that satisfies everyone and enables group reconciliation. Blanco’s uninspired illustrations (pencil, marker, and digital) give areas colored by the step-in-line markers a rote smoothness that evokes machine coloring, not child-applied color. The improvised, collaborative technique finds Purple making abstract shapes that the pencil transforms into realistic objects, so while Purple does get to color free of outlines, the rule still privileges realism. Tepid prose—“There are no mistakes, only happy accidents!”—is further slowed by an odd choice of placing an ellipsis in the middle of sentences that cross a spread.

Conceptually murky, visually dull. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30940-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and...

GOODNIGHT SONGS

ILLUSTRATED BY TWELVE AWARD-WINNING PICTURE BOOK ARTISTS

It’s a treasure trove: one dozen previously unpublished lyrical songs illustrated by the likes of Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger and Melissa Sweet.

In an introduction, estate editor Amy Gary explains how she found a trunk in Brown’s sister’s barn filled with unpublished manuscripts with Brown’s handwritten notes along with musical scores of her words. They were written in 1952, the last year of her life, when she was traveling in France for a book tour and under contract to create songs for a new children’s record company. Brown’s intent was to capture the spirit of a child’s world in her songs as she had done with her stories. As the opening to “The Secret Song” demonstrates, the simple rhymes have Brown’s trademark charm: “Who saw the petals / Drop from the rose? / ‘I,’ said the spider. / ‘But nobody knows.’ / Who saw the sunset / Flash on a bird? / ‘I,’ said the fish. / ‘But nobody heard.’ ” Each song is presented on one double-page spread, each illustrated by a different artist (uncredited until an ending recap), in a rather staid book design that does not rise to meet the buoyancy of the lyrics.

Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and delight in the background of the discovery. (CD) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0446-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun.

A IS FOR ANOTHER RABBIT

An obsessed narrator creates an alphabet book overrun with rabbits, much to the chagrin of an owl who wants to create a “proper, respectable” alphabet book.

The picture book begins, “A is for A rabbit,” an illustration of a large brown rabbit taking up most of the recto. The owl protagonist—presumably the co-creator of the book—points out that “rabbit” begins with “R.” “Yes, but “a rabbit” starts with A,” says the narrator, before moving on to “B is for bunny,” which, as the owl points out, is just another name for rabbit. Despite the owl’s mounting frustration, the narrator genially narrates several rabbits into existence on almost every single page, rendered with such variety that readers will find their proliferation endlessly amusing. The letter D, for instance, introduces readers to “delightful, dynamic, daredevil RABBITS!” (a herd of biker rabbits), and although the narrator says “E is for Elephant” (which momentarily satisfies the owl), the image depicts several rabbits poorly disguised as an elephant. Much to the owl’s chagrin and, ultimately, exhaustion, the narrator grows more and more creative in their presentation of their favorite animal as the picture book proceeds down a rabbit hole of…well, rabbits! Batsel’s debut picture book for readers already familiar with the English alphabet is funny and highly entertaining. The whimsical narrative and the colorful images make this an excellent elementary-age read-aloud.

Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun. (Picture book. 4-8)/p>)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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MOTHER GOOSE PICTURE PUZZLES

Hillenbrand introduces the idea of rebuses to newly emergent readers with a gathering of likely-to-be-familiar Mother Goose rhymes—from “Hey diddle, diddle, / the [cat] and the [fiddle]” to “Twinkle, twinkle, little [star].” To make the translations ultra-easy, he provides literal visual interpretations for each rhyme in good-humored cartoon scenes featuring smiling people or animals, generally in country dress and settings. (He moderates verisimilitude for the audience appropriately: Jill’s fallen male companion and Humpty Dumpty are unhappy after their accidents but plainly not grievously injured.) He even labels the relevant figures, all of whom or which are larger versions of the rebuses: “cake,” “baker’s man” and “baby,” for instance, or “hill,” “pail,” “water” and “crown (another word for top of head).” As a technique for promoting visual and verbal literacy at once this game has a good track record, and young audiences put off by the crudely illustrated likes of Blanche Fisher Wright’s Real Mother Goose Picture Word Rhymes (1916, 1987) or the much older Mother Goose in Hieroglyphics (1849, 1973) will both enjoy and benefit from this shorter but more child-friendly outing. (Nursery rhymes. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5808-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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