POTATO JOE

Lively potatoes frisk and frolic across the page in this lighthearted counting book that expands on the familiar rhyme, “One potato, two potato.” Popping out of the dirt, Potato Joe initiates the rhyme with his “one potato” call and is joined by a second potato echoing “two potato.” As more potato pals join in, they add to the count as they fall into a tic-tac-toe formation, line up in a row and spot a “big black crow.” The growing potato pile is covered in snow as it continues the count to ten at which point ten brown spuds sporting cowboy hats are lassoed into a rodeo to do-si-do. Eventually the playful potato pack makes way for Tomato Flo and Watermelon Moe before rolling back into the dirt in descending numerical order. Simple illustrations starring the rotund tubers in assorted shapes, sizes and tones of brown against plain pastel backgrounds prove amazingly expressive and active as Potato Joe and his gang get down and dirty maneuvering through the count. Spunky spuds with appeal. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206230-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last.

GREEN IS FOR CHRISTMAS

Familiar crayon characters argue over which color is the essential Christmas color.

Green starts by saying that green is for Christmas. After all, green is for holly. But Red objects. Red is for candy canes. Green is for fir trees, Green retorts. But Red is for Santa Claus, who agrees. (Santa is depicted as a white-bearded White man.) Then White joins the fray. After spending the year being invisible, White isn’t giving up the distinction of association with Christmas. Snow, anyone? But then there’s Silver: stars and bells. And Brown: cookies and reindeer! At this point, everyone is confused. But they come together and agree that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without all of them together. Someone may get the last word, though. In Daywalt and Jeffers’ now-signature style, the crayon-written text is spare and humorous, while the crayon characters engage with each other against a bare white background, vying for attention. Dot-eyed faces and stick legs on each object turn them all into comical, if similar, personalities. But the series’ original cleverness is absent here, leaving readers with a perfunctory recitation of attributes. Fans of the crayon books may delight in another themed installment; those who aren’t already fans will likely find it lacking. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-35338-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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