MONKEY TIME

Both simple and complex and always with humor: a worthy addition to the telling-time shelf.

Round and round his clocklike tree, Monkey chases minutes in this tale about telling time.

Monkey slumbers away as orange, fruitlike balls happily march up his tree. When the first awakens him, their 60-minute game begins. Twelve branches create the tree-clock’s face, with Monkey in the middle. As the cheerful balls—embodied minutes—run the canopy’s circumference, Monkey’s arm sweeps clockwise, attempting to catch each cheeky sphere. After an hour, the minutes fly away—and 60 new merry minutes begin the game afresh. Colored or painted papers cut out and arranged to make forms create a style reminiscent of Eric Carle’s. But while Carle’s handmade collages mirror the natural, organic lessons of his text, Hall’s digital collage is used to teach precision and time—an apt match of technique and content. As always, Hall uses design to great effect, and the simple style allows readers to focus on the growing narrative of the accumulation of minutes. Playful, number-chart endpages and rhythmic, repetitive lines for reading aloud (“Chase me over. / Chase me down. / Chase me all the way around”) complete the fun.

Both simple and complex and always with humor: a worthy addition to the telling-time shelf. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-238302-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

SLUG IN LOVE

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

As ephemeral as a valentine.

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. 1, 2021

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