Ultimately, the book presents concepts that are too mature for its apparent age group to grasp without guidance.

WHICH IS ROUND? WHICH IS BIGGER?

Playful or confusing? The illustrations by Japanese designer Mamada in this comparisons book are charmingly naïve, but their conceptual twists tend to beg more questions than they answer.

The premise is that nothing is as it appears. An apple is round until it is half-eaten; a pangolin, while not normally round like an apple, becomes round when it curls into a ball. A duck is bigger than a small peacock—until the peacock is in full display mode. The cat is higher up the tree than the mouse—until the tree bends and the cat is lower. This could lead to an interesting discussion with a 3-year-old—or could cause endless confusion, especially since some of the concepts are not really accurate. A snake is still longer than an ant, even when many ants form a long line. In one spread, “Which one is faster,” a dog beats the snail walking up the hill, but the snail rolls down the hill faster than the dog can walk. The response might challenge the reasoning abilities of even the smartest 2- to 4-year-olds and lead to a sense of dissatisfaction. Used in an elementary classroom, however, it could prompt fruitful discussion.

Ultimately, the book presents concepts that are too mature for its apparent age group to grasp without guidance. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55453-973-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a...

SKY COLOR

Reynolds returns to a favorite topic—creative self-expression—with characteristic skill in a companion title to The Dot (2003) and Ish (2004).

Marisol is “an artist through and through. So when her teacher told her class they were going to paint a mural…, Marisol couldn’t wait to begin.” As each classmate claims a part of the picture to paint, Marisol declares she will “paint the sky.” But she soon discovers there is no blue paint and wonders what she will do without the vital color. Up to this point, the author uses color sparingly—to accent a poster or painting of Marisol’s or to highlight the paint jars on a desk. During her bus ride home, Marisol wonders what to do and stares out the window. The next spread reveals a vibrant departure from the gray tones of the previous pages. Reds, oranges, lemon yellows and golds streak across the sunset sky. Marisol notices the sky continuing to change in a rainbow of colors…except blue. After awakening from a colorful dream to a gray rainy day, Marisol smiles. With a fervent mixing of paints, she creates a beautiful swirling sky that she describes as “sky color.” Fans of Reynolds will enjoy the succinct language enhanced by illustrations in pen, ink, watercolor, gouache and tea.

Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a problem on one’s own—creatively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2345-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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