Don’t waste time: Pick up this fun, ecologically minded read.

FRIDGE-OPOLIS

A playful introduction to the serious topic of food waste.

As this picture book opens, the city of Fridge-Opolis has a serious pollution problem caused by rotting and expired food. Cartoon-style illustrations use wavy lines to indicate the malodorous stench emanating from the foods while also employing color, perspective, and crowding of forms and shapes to create a messy, chaotic setting. Meanwhile, rhyming text with a singsong cadence reads, “Lettuce had long ago wilted. / Rhubarb was bitter and rude. / The overripe pineapple prickled. / Even broccoli was in a bad mood.” Wordplay abounds as the untenable situation unravels, and after a food fight breaks out, anthropomorphic, mustachioed Mayor Mayonnaise resolves to clean things up. He enlists the help of Doctor Baking Soda, who scrubs the refrigerator clean and gets rid of spoiled food, leaving “only food safe to eat.” At book’s end, Recycling Ridge and Compost Town are introduced as new additions to the kitchen community, pointing toward ongoing efforts to reduce and responsibly deal with waste. Accessible, well-designed backmatter includes statistics and information about food waste in the United States to offer a sobering and inspiring call for readers to help “reach our national goal of cutting food waste and loss in half by 2030.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Don’t waste time: Pick up this fun, ecologically minded read. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1254-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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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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Lacking in originality yet ultimately a timely mirror for black boyhood and childhood

COOL CUTS

This companion to Happy Hair (2019) takes the same appreciation for the diversity of black self-expression from the beauty salon to the barbershop.

Branching out from black girl hairstyles, Roe here extends the conversation to consider the multitude of hairstyles for black and brown boys even as readers can infer a wider representation of the gender spectrum, since many of the illustrations come without explicit gender assignments. There’s a legacy of black boys who have been targeted, punished, or criticized for their choice of self-expression, and this book is a needed corrective. Arriving after the much-heralded Crown (2017), this makes space to celebrate a wide range of styles, from cornrows and curls to fro-hawks and flat-tops. Each matte, posterlike portrait is rendered alongside a catchy, empowering quote: “When the stars shine, / the world is mine” highlights a high-top; “A happy boy, / full of joy!” celebrates a step-up. A (rather trite) refrain pulls them all together: “i am born to be AWESOME!” Roe is returning to the series after Superheroes Are Everywhere (2019), her recent bestselling collaboration with Sen. Kamala Harris, undoubtedly bringing a number of new fans with her. For a segment of U.S. readership that is starved for representation that appreciates the unique details and nuances of their style and identity, this steps in to lift up their presence in bright, lively portraiture.

Lacking in originality yet ultimately a timely mirror for black boyhood and childhood . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9557-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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