“Thomas likes all the colors because he can hear them and smell them and touch them and taste them”—but he can’t see them, and this innovative picture book gives sighted children a sense of what that must be like. Color by color, readers learn yellow (“tastes like mustard”), red (“hurts when he finds it on his scraped knee”), brown (“crunches under his feet like fall leaves”) and so on, but all they’ll see is black. Each all-black double-page spread is devoted to one color, the left-hand page containing the simple, sensuous text rendered both in a clear, white typeface and in raised Braille letters, and the right illustrating one of the objects described with embossed lines that force readers to encounter them tactilely rather than visually. The shock readers feel will give way to wonder as they lose themselves in sightlessness and imagine the richness of Thomas’s world: “Black is the king of all colors. It is as soft as silk when his mother hugs him and her hair falls in his face.” Fascinating, challenging and lovely. (Picture book. 5 & up)

Pub Date: June 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-88899-873-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008


Quietly contemplative and thoroughly lovely.

A child finds adventure and a change of perspective on a dreary day.

Clouds cover everything in a palette of unending gray, creating a sense of ennui and gloom. A child stands alone, head down, feeling as gray as the day, and decides to ride through town on an old bike. Pops of color throughout the grayscale illustrations go unnoticed—there are yellow leaves scattered about, and the parking lot is filled with bright yellow buses, but this child, who has skin the grayish white of the page, sees only the empty playground, creaky swings, a sad merry-go-round, and lonely seesaws. But look—there’s a narrow winding path just beyond the fence, something to explore. There are things to be noticed, leaves to be crunched, and discoveries to be made. Imagination takes over, along with senses of wonderment and calm, as the child watches a large blue bird fly over the area. The ride home is quite different, joyful and filled with color previously ignored, reaffirming the change in the rider’s outlook. The descriptive, spare text filled with imagery and onomatopoeia is well aligned with well-rendered art highlighting all the colors that brighten the not-so-gray day and allowing readers to see what the protagonist struggles to understand, that “anything can happen…on a gray day.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Quietly contemplative and thoroughly lovely. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781797210896

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023


Comic fun for those who appreciate farce—or monsters.

The creators of Goosebumps and Arthur team up for a monster of a joke book.

Two monster friends, one big, one little, perch on a tree branch. Funny decides to improve glum Hunny’s mood with some irresistible jokes. Hunny remains unimpressed and resolutely grumpy, but Funny increasingly ups the ante, assuring Hunny more and more firmly that the best gags are yet to come. Funny tells a dozen jokes in total. Some are incoherent, while others are mildly amusing; all but one feature monsters, many involving monstrous appetites: “What’s the monster’s favorite school lunch?” “The teacher!” Funny believes that each one is hilarious and cracks themself up, but Hunny is unmoved. The impasse is resolved with one moment of slapstick: Funny jumps up and down on the branch in frustration, then becomes unbalanced, falls off the limb, and lands in the water below with a huge splash. Hunny thinks that the pratfall is hilarious and finally guffaws, good humor restored. Many readers will find the so-bad-they’re-good jokes and the ending satisfyingly absurd. Blocky collage illustrations of varied textures and cheerful colors, set against a flat background, carry readers through the text; the monsters are toothy, but most are reasonably friendly looking. Touches of red provide accents. Large text and mostly simple words will appeal to beginning readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Comic fun for those who appreciate farce—or monsters. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-338-81525-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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