With its generous format and variety, this work should keep kids happily occupied for hours while learning a few things...




This California-themed children’s activity book provides information on the state’s history, animals, and more through coloring pages, stickers, and puzzles.

California is a huge state, matching the big format of this work, with 368 full-size pages packed with information, black-and-white line drawings to color, puzzles to complete, and 253 stickers. (Silhouettes on the appropriate drawings read “PLACE STICKER HERE.”) With some exceptions, the drawing style is cartoonish; both adult and animal figures have exaggerated, childlike features, such as big heads, wide-set eyes, and toothy, open-mouthed grins. Sixteen chapters cover topics including California’s prehistory, European exploration, missions, places of interest, animals, festivals, parks, food, and activities. The opening chapter, “Characters of California,” provides coloring pages (but no additional information) depicting such figures as Maxie Mammoth; Yuki, a Native American; and Soul Deadbones, a sugar-skull man wearing a sombrero. These often correspond to other pages (for example, Soul Deadbones goes with the Día de los Muertos entry), but no cross-references are provided. In the remaining chapters, each page usually includes a headline and a few sentences of explanation, along with a picture to color or a puzzle to solve. Sometimes Drenth (Dogs Don’t, 2017, etc.) makes only a tenuous connection to the state’s history, as when a page on San Francisco’s Chinatown in the Northern California chapter is followed by a maze titled “Help the ninja find the path to his lunch.” What do ninjas, whether the original Japanese feudal mercenaries or the pop-culture variety, have to do with the Bay Area? Similarly, the illustrations by Cardona (Puerto Rico Coloring Learning Activity Book, 2013, etc.) sometimes lack accuracy; Yuki, for example, wears deerskin leggings, although Yuki men wore only an apron-like piece of deerskin. But children, less picky about such matters, can enjoy the assortment of activities the book offers, the bite-sized factoids, and perhaps especially the colorful stickers, which are vivid, lively, and fun.

With its generous format and variety, this work should keep kids happily occupied for hours while learning a few things about California.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-880760-70-3

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Sunnyscene LLC

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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