A pleasant outdoor adventure with a calm animal cast and an easy introduction to numbers.

FRIENDS COUNT

A dog finds many new friends in this debut counting book.

A small dog wearing a yellow kerchief around his neck is lonely. When he encounters two cats, he offers to share his bone with them; they decline but are happy to play with him, nonetheless. The trio meet three frogs, four chicks (and one uncounted mother hen), five kites, six bees, and more groups of birds, plants, and insects—up to a count of 10 in a group. Some of these join the party, but others are simply part of the scenery as the friends go on their way. At the end of the day, the dog is sad to say goodbye, “But then he remember[s] all the fun he had” and looks forward to future adventures. Brown’s rhymes are well constructed, although in some stanzas, the rhythm falters slightly. Harvey’s mixed-media illustrations combine linework with very soft watercolor backgrounds; even the color of a red barn feels subdued. Although there’s some action—a rainstorm catches the friends unaware—most of the story is as low-key as the color scheme, making this a good choice for bedtime reading. Lap readers will enjoy pointing at and counting the numbered creatures, objects, and plants.

A pleasant outdoor adventure with a calm animal cast and an easy introduction to numbers.

Pub Date: March 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949711-66-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bluewater Publications

Review Posted Online: March 22, 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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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