LISTEN TO THE CITY

Using the Pop Art style she displayed to such terrific effect in ABC Pop! (1999) Isadora makes another vibrant series of images with just enough words to get those toddlers jumping. “Rise and shine” says the page with a brrriinnging alarm clock, followed by a page of sizzling bacon and eggs, popping toast, and a hissing kettle. That establishes the retro feel and the onomatopoetic bounce of the rest of the book, from the “whoop whoop” of a helicopter to the clomp and tap of dozens of pairs of shoes on the sidewalk to traffic and construction noises. The colors are primary and secondary hues in great geometric swathes and shapes, with the characteristic bold outlines, and dots and dashes, of Pop art and comics. Some words are in neat word balloons; others, in psychedelic neon, balloon across the page or dance over an image. The city is clearly inspired by New York, even though the library lion recumbent seems to be sitting in a park, and the garbage trucks aren’t usually yellow. City kids will revel, and all kids will delight in the colors, shapes, and sounds of this pulsating tour de force. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-399-23047-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall.

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THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES

This book may not have pictures, but it’s sure to inspire lots of conversations—and laughs.

Television writer, actor and comedian Novak delivers a rare find, indeed: a very good celebrity picture book. It doesn’t even seem fair to call it such, since it has nothing to do with his Emmy Award–winning writing for The Office or the fame his broader career has afforded him. The jacket flap even eschews a glossy photo, instead saying “B.J. has brown hair and blue eyes,” in order to keep with the book’s central conceit. What this book does have is text, and it’s presented through artful typography that visually conveys its changing tone to guide oral readings. Furthermore, the text implies (or rather, demands) a shared reading transaction, in which an adult is compelled to read the text aloud, no matter how “COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS” it is. Employing direct address, it pleads with the implied child listener to allow him or her to stop reading. Nonsense words, silly words to be sung and even a smattering of potty talk for good measure all coalesce in riotous read-aloud fare. Although the closing pages beg the implied child reader to “please please please please / please / choose a book with pictures” for subsequent reading, it’s likely that this request will be ignored.

A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall. (. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4171-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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