CIRCLE, SQUARE, MOOSE

Moose is back! Hooray—unless you are a book about circles and squares.

The simple concept book starts off well enough with a button representing a circle and a sandwich representing a square. And then mischief and mayhem erupt as Moose takes an enormous bite out of the sandwich. Admonitions from the book follow, and then it attempts to continue with a wedge of cheese and a slice of pie to illustrate triangles. Alas, Moose interrupts again, presenting a cat with triangular ears. Leave the book, they are told. More Moose antics ensue with rectangles and diamonds. The book grows ever more frantic, and fortunately Zebra arrives to salvage the exercise. Or does he? Zebra appears hopelessly tangled in ribbon (a curve) when Moose steps in to save the day with a circle that becomes a hole through which they escape the book. Moose then presents his friend with the last shape, a star. It is a great joy to watch Bingham and Zelinsky, who brilliantly collaborated on Z Is for Moose (2012), once more let Moose loose to naughtily and enthusiastically disrupt reading. Bingham’s text is both straightforward and filled with humorous speech bubbles. Zelinsky digitally manipulates his palette of bright colors to fill the pages with sly clues, fast-paced action, expressive typefaces and animals with winning personalities. Are further books in Moose’s future?

Hilarious fun. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-229003-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a...

SKY COLOR

Reynolds returns to a favorite topic—creative self-expression—with characteristic skill in a companion title to The Dot (2003) and Ish (2004).

Marisol is “an artist through and through. So when her teacher told her class they were going to paint a mural…, Marisol couldn’t wait to begin.” As each classmate claims a part of the picture to paint, Marisol declares she will “paint the sky.” But she soon discovers there is no blue paint and wonders what she will do without the vital color. Up to this point, the author uses color sparingly—to accent a poster or painting of Marisol’s or to highlight the paint jars on a desk. During her bus ride home, Marisol wonders what to do and stares out the window. The next spread reveals a vibrant departure from the gray tones of the previous pages. Reds, oranges, lemon yellows and golds streak across the sunset sky. Marisol notices the sky continuing to change in a rainbow of colors…except blue. After awakening from a colorful dream to a gray rainy day, Marisol smiles. With a fervent mixing of paints, she creates a beautiful swirling sky that she describes as “sky color.” Fans of Reynolds will enjoy the succinct language enhanced by illustrations in pen, ink, watercolor, gouache and tea.

Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a problem on one’s own—creatively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2345-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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