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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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

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. 2, 2021

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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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