Simple words and accessible, engaging illustrations combine to offer a surprisingly nuanced story.

TREASURE

A child and a crow both collect shiny objects but find a way to share in this picture book that doubles as an early reader.

The story begins with a single word, “child,” in a large easy-to-read, sans-serif type. Its accompanying illustration shows a black-haired, beige-skinned figure gazing at several trinkets the child has placed on a stone wall outdoors. The story continues with soft, full-color illustrations, each accompanied by a single word. The overall effect is one of friendliness and encouragement as well as illustrative engagement, as readers will no doubt peruse the illustrations seeking out the host of treasured objects—buttons, sea glass, coins, a thimble—they contain. A crow enters the storyline, and the crow also collects shiny objects. When it takes a treasured button from the stone wall, the child is forlorn. That night a storm dislodges the crow’s nest, and the crow’s shiny collection tumbles to the ground. The crow finds and returns the child’s treasured button, and the grateful child offers a trinket to the crow, who takes it—and leaves a feather in return. Author/illustrator Dwyer exhibits remarkable skill in creating this story of friendship and sharing, with its minimal text and well-designed illustrations. Early readers will hone their skills, while the accessible, uncluttered illustrations invite them to use their imaginations to make the story their own.

Simple words and accessible, engaging illustrations combine to offer a surprisingly nuanced story. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-51326-195-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: WestWinds Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

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. 2, 2021

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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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