Rates high in creative problem-solving and oral storytelling but low in Halloween safety.

A TEENY TINY HALLOWEEN

A new “teeny tiny woman” tale joins the Halloween shelf.

Nestled in a teeny tiny house in a big forest lives a teeny tiny woman. (You get the point—for youngsters learning to tell a tale aloud, the repetition—and the changing font that indicates volume—is valuable, but adults may need a teeny tiny bit more time to throw themselves into the fun.) Every fall the diminutive woman has a problem: the autumn leaves bury her cottage. She cries out, “Oh, who will save me?” but though each time she cries a little louder than the last, it’s still not enough to attract attention. Tapping the windows and banging pots and pans also fails. Her last idea is one that will seem odd: baking cookies. But who can ignore that delicious aroma? Not the children dressed as a cat, a witch, and a ghost who are walking through the forest. The three friends dig through the leaves to uncover the source. One “trick-or-treat!” later, they are enjoying gooey cookies at the table together. While the woman’s solution is a clever one, it will also likely have parents reminding their children not to enter people’s houses on Halloween. Cole’s illustrations are full of the colors of the season. The woman, the boy ghost, and the girl witch are white; the girl cat—an orange tabby—is black. In a nice change from more traditional “teeny tiny woman” tales, this book’s protagonist is no crone but a fashionably dressed woman of indeterminate age.

Rates high in creative problem-solving and oral storytelling but low in Halloween safety. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943978-02-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Persnickety Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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