Conceptually murky, visually dull.


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: July 21, 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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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.


A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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