An infectious, pea-sized romp.

READ REVIEW

HAP-PEA ALL YEAR

From the Peas series

Having conquered the alphabet (LMNO Peas, 2010), numbers (1-2-3 Peas, 2012), and colors (Little Green Peas: A Big Book of Colors, 2014), Baker’s goofy spherical seeds return to revel in the seasons and holidays in this book of months.

“Hap-pea January! Let’s get going. / Grab your mittens—hooray, it’s snowing!” With this jubilant declaration, Baker’s green veggies make merry in a snowy landscape, skiing with abandon, tobogganing by fours, and casting snowballs at one another. In the middle of this jamboree, a giant “January”—its letters colored in cool blues and purples—dominates the double-page spread. One conspicuous pea holding a “1” stands amid all the action. This particular legume acts as a guide of sorts, counting out the months as its round comrades partake in every seasonal change and holiday celebration. Each double-page spread hosts a month, from January to December, with bright and colorful digital artwork. Naturally, the big festive days make an appearance: Valentine’s Day in February, Halloween in October. Baker also includes the end and beginning of the school year (June and September, respectively), casting summer as a joyous paradise. The rhyming text is relaxed and sparse, conjuring up a lighthearted tone that matches the peas’ humorous antics. (A shoutout to LMNO Peas in June elicits a hearty chuckle.)

An infectious, pea-sized romp. (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5854-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Haphazard but jolly enough for one outing; it probably won’t last for more.

THE CRAYONS' CHRISTMAS

From the Creative Creature Catcher series

A flurry of mail addressed to Duncan’s crayons ushers in the Christmas season in this novelty spinoff of the bestselling The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) and The Day the Crayons Came Home (2015).

Actual cards and letters are tucked into envelopelike pouches pasted to the pages; these are joined in some cases by other ephemera for a package that is likely to invite sudden, intense play followed by loss and/or damage that will render the book a disappointment to reread. That’s probably OK, as in contrast to the clever story that kicked this small series off, this outing has a hastily composed feel that lacks cohesion. The first letter is addressed to Peach from Mom and includes a paper doll of the “naked” (de-wrappered) crayon along with a selection of tabbed changes of clothing that includes a top hat and tails and a bikini top and bottom. Peach’s implied gender fluidity does not mitigate the unfortunate association of peach with skin color established in the first book. The sense of narrative improvisation is cemented with an early page turn that takes the crayons from outdoors snow play to “Feeling…suddenly very Christmas-y, the crayons headed inside.” Readers can unpack a box of punch-out decorations; a recipe for gluten-free Christmas cookies that begins “go to store and buy gluten-free cookies”; a punch-out dreidel (turns out Grey is Jewish); a board game (“six-sided die” not included); and a map of Esteban (aka Pea Green) and Neon Red’s travels with Santa.

Haphazard but jolly enough for one outing; it probably won’t last for more. (Novelty. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51574-6

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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