ONE IS A LOT (EXCEPT WHEN IT'S NOT)

One unique picture book with much to say equals quite a lot.

This Canadian import creatively explores concepts of a lot and a little, enough and not enough, through a seemingly simple story set in a lush, green park in summertime.

Each page or spread of the story includes a brief, declarative sentence beginning with a numeral: 0, 1, or 2. For example, “1 sun is a lot.” A frisky squirrel finds that one huge oak tree or one acorn is a lot. But two acorns can be too much to hold onto. For two children walking their dogs in the park, two leashes are too much when those leashes become tangled. This pair of children meet and become friends, sharing one umbrella and playing with a ball. One has brown skin and black, curly hair; the other has light skin and brown hair swept back in an unusual style. One acorn falls into a puddle as the children play, and over the concluding pages, that acorn sprouts and grows into an oak tree. In the final spread, the two children are now a grown-up couple with a child and dog of their own, having a family picnic under the tree that grew from just one acorn. Other people in the park include children and adults of different races. The thoughtful, minimalist text offers subtle insights into perceptions from different viewpoints as well as opportunities for discussion and interpretation. Appealing illustrations with the look of watercolors capture the humor of the situations in the park and smoothly convey multiple secondary plotlines.

One unique picture book with much to say equals quite a lot. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0013-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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