THE GREAT GOLDEN THING

A story of such gentleness that it really deserves to be called a lullaby, though there is no nighty-night involved. What there is, though, is the great golden thing that Bramble Bear has glimpsed. It caught him so by surprise that he didn’t really get a good look at it before he rushed off to tell Gimli what he had seen. Gimli is a magician with a wonderful well in his backyard, a well that loves the flowers Gimli gives to it as thanks each springtime (for there are no flowers across the land at any other time of year). Gimli tries to coax from Bramble Bear more details about the great golden thing. Ultimately, they decide it is “a great golden thing that flies yet rests on a leg that is green and stands on the ground.” There is nothing to do but go see the thing, so off they set and meet their friend Hopple Hare on the way, who joins the investigation. They are stopped short by Brindle Bear, who announces that her sunflower is most likely what they are after, a flower she nourishes from Gimli’s spring. They are disappointed at first, but decide that it will be enjoyable to see the flower anyway. They go and offer the flower a little dance, then gather some fallen petals to bring back to the spring. The art has a certain galumphing quality—Brindle and Bramble look like they could have just come from Jellystone Park—but it also has a dreamy softness that goes perfectly well with the mild, peaceable tale. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7358-1593-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2002

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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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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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