Captures the magic of childhood summers, when colors are a song and a backyard can sing the wonders of the world.

SUMMER SONG

Henkes and Dronzek evoke the sights, sounds, and joys of summer, completing their celebratory seasonal quartet.

Captivating poetic text begins like a stream of consciousness: “The Summer sun is a giant flower, / and the flowers are like little suns. / Little suns of all different colors.” Brilliantly woven together, these accessible and seemingly simple similes and metaphors form a vibrant and sophisticated ode to nature. Readers will drink in the delicious cool shade, feel the sweltering sun, and revel in the lush green garden. Henkes hears summer’s song everywhere—in the wind through the grass, the birds in the sky, and the oceans and lakes. Onomatopoeia fills the air with the sounds of bees and dragonflies, juxtaposed with the silence of the glowing firefly. Uncomplicated acrylic paintings done in a primary palette will appeal to young animal lovers. Deeply saturated blues and greens capture the essence of the season, Dronzek’s characteristically firm black outlines helping animals, flowers, birds, insects, and humans pop. A multiracial cast of kids tend pets, cool off in the sprinkler, play in the sand, and watch clouds. As the season wanes, there’s delicious anticipation for autumn’s change. This lovely read-aloud will be savored, just like a summer’s day.

Captures the magic of childhood summers, when colors are a song and a backyard can sing the wonders of the world. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-286613-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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