An enchanting one-on-one introduction for mythology fans and fans-to-be.

OVER IN THE WOODLAND

A MYTHOLOGICAL COUNTING JOURNEY

Snuggle up to savor the familiar and the fantastical.

As day dawns, a mother griffin sends out her pride to protect the Woodland. “ ‘Guard,’ said the mother. / ‘We will guard every home.’ / So her young griffins flew / where the mythic creatures roam.” Each verse introduces a new mythological creature family such that, in the familiar “Over in the Meadow” format, young readers rhyme and count their way through the day. One young phoenix rises with its father: “So they rose from the ashes / in the glimmer of the sun”; a few pages later, readers learn that “in a lush, leafy heaven, / Lived a spry mother fairy and her little fairies seven.” At the end of the day, the mother griffin calls her brood home. “ ‘Safe?’ asked the mother. ‘All safe,’ said the ten. / So they settled for the night in the quiet of their den.” Midday scenes are brighter than those at either end of the day, but most of the illustrations in this mythological woodland are mistily ethereal. Young listeners can count the offspring in each new family and search for the young griffin that hides in plain sight on each spread. A glossary includes a paragraph about each of the 10 mythological creatures. A map of the Woodland is presented on the endpapers.

An enchanting one-on-one introduction for mythology fans and fans-to-be. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64170-241-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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 surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text.

BO'S MAGICAL NEW FRIEND

From the Unicorn Diaries series , Vol. 1

A unicorn learns a friendship lesson in this chapter-book series opener.

Unicorn Bo has friends but longs for a “bestie.” Luckily, a new unicorn pops into existence (literally: Unicorns appear on especially starry nights) and joins Bo at the Sparklegrove School for Unicorns, where they study things like unicorn magic. Each unicorn has a special power; Bo’s is granting wishes. Not knowing what his own might be distresses new unicorn Sunny. When the week’s assignment is to earn a patch by using their unicorn powers to help someone, Bo hopes Sunny will wish to know Bo's power (enabling both unicorns to complete the task, and besides, Bo enjoys Sunny’s company and wants to help him). But when the words come out wrong, Sunny thinks Bo was feigning friendship to get to grant a wish and earn a patch, setting up a fairly sophisticated conflict. Bo makes things up to Sunny, and then—with the unicorns friends again and no longer trying to force their powers—arising circumstances enable them to earn their patches. The cheerful illustrations feature a sherbet palette, using patterns for texture; on busy pages with background colors similar to the characters’ color schemes, this combines with the absence of outlines to make discerning some individual characters a challenge. The format, familiar to readers of Elliott’s Owl Diaries series, uses large print and speech bubbles to keep pages to a manageable amount of text.

A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32332-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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