Simple and sweet.

READ REVIEW

COLIN THE CHAMELEON

Even though he can’t change colors like the rest of his family, a young chameleon learns that he has other innate gifts.

His brothers and sisters blend easily into the forest by changing colors, but Colin’s burnished red never changes. The other chameleons decide that it’s not safe to be near him, so he travels alone and friendless. While they hunt for insects and leaves to eat, Colin hides all day under a branch. The juiciest insects are across the road, but no chameleon dares make that crossing, because it isn’t safe—the tire prints and tiny bones make that clear. One day, Colin is leaning too far from his branch and falls—right into the middle of the road. A driver sees him right away and yells, “Stop!” and cars traveling in both directions do just that. Waving a leaf, Colin calls all the other chameleons to cross the road with him, and they parade across to a juicy reward. Now, that part of the road is known as the chameleon crossing, and Colin is a hero. Each two-page spread in Quarry’s gentle story is also an opportunity for little readers to find the chameleons. Her illustrations, which look like prints, employ multiple shades of green, brown, and yellow to great effect; bright Colin stands out!

Simple and sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-76036-047-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Starfish Bay

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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The message is wholehearted and positive, but the cloying execution doesn’t stand out.

THE JOY IN YOU

A parent koala encourages its child to engage in every pursuit, and so do several other animals.

The British celebrity author, host of both children’s and adult TV programs, has a very positive message to spread, but there is nothing original in the lightweight text. The many animal characters pictured in diverting, fuzzy-edged illustrations engage in various activities as the text encourages them. “You can sing! If you love to sing, sing. / Shout at the top of your lungs, or whisper soft and sweet.” On verso, a frog quartet harmonizes, while across the gutter, a lion is shown with open mouth roaring as a small bird presumably whispers. Using rhyme and alliteration but without real poetic consistency, lines such as these appear: “You can share. You can care. You can create. You can learn. / You can wonder. You can wander.” The pink flamingo creating a fantastic dessert with pineapple rings is an appealing image, and children will enjoy seeing the cuddly baby koala throughout the book as other animals step up for their showcase. The fantasy-forest setting and its animals will keep small children engaged, but the sweetness comes with a significant aftertaste of treacle. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 34.5% of actual size.)

The message is wholehearted and positive, but the cloying execution doesn’t stand out. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-18141-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Good bedtime reading.

POLAR BEAR ISLAND

Only polar bears are allowed on Polar Bear Island, until Kirby, a friendly, creative penguin, arrives on the scene.

On the verso of the first double-page spread, large white lettering proclaims against an azure sky: “Polar Bear Island was peaceful and predictable. Parker, the mayor, planned to keep it that way.” Below, Parker—paint can in left paw—can be seen facing his sign: “Welcome to Polar Bear Island. No Others Allowed.” On the recto, Kirby floats into view on an ice floe, with hat, scarf, and overstuffed suitcase. When Kirby arrives, Parker grudgingly allows her an overnight stay. However, she soon proves her worth to the other bears; she has invented Flipper Slippers, which keep extremities warm and reverse from skates to snowshoes. Now Kirby is allowed to stay and help the bears make their own Flipper Slippers. When her family shows up with more inventions, Parker feels compelled to give them a week. (Presumably, the penguins have made the 12,430-mile-trip from the South Pole to the North Pole, characterized merely as “a long journey.”) A minor crisis permanently changes Parker’s attitudes about exclusivity. The text is accessible and good fun to read aloud. The weakness of the ostensible theme of granting welcome to newcomers lies in the fact that all the newcomers are immediately, obviously useful to the bears. The cartoonlike, scratchboard-ish graphics are lighthearted and full of anthropomorphic touches.

Good bedtime reading. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2870-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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