LMNO PEA-QUEL

From the Peas series

Perhaps these peas have simply pea-tered out.

Baker’s industrious pea-ple are back for a fifth tour, this time delivering an A-to-Z look at work and play.

Colorful, digitally textured lowercase letters loom large against white space, cleverly integrated into the action. Firefighters use a ladder truck to train a hose on a small fire high atop the letter F. An S—strapped to the roof of a school bus filled with book-toting students—sports a row of saluting soldiers up on top. Among the standard community helpers, from architects to window washers, Baker inserts a bit of whimsy: there are pirates, a queen, and five “X-Peas” exhibiting their superpowers. There’s some deliberate, anthropomorphized diversity: a violinist is female (or at least has a ponytail) and uses a wheelchair; one soldier appears female (with hair in a bun), and most work crews have some female peas (so to speak). Genders are suggested by hairstyles, props, and purses. Depicting “jailbirds” for J seems jarringly tone-deaf. Three peas in stereotyped black-and-white striped uniforms peer sadly from a multilevel barred building topped with barbed wire; the letter itself is also incarcerated. (A guard snoozes in a chair below, while a smiling janitor mops the floor.) Admittedly, there’s fun for kids to discover here—from the vegetable horde’s teeming activities to a ladybug that appears on each double-page spread—but the text scans erratically, making for clunky read-alouds.

Perhaps these peas have simply pea-tered out. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5856-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

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

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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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