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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Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something...

FLIGHT SCHOOL

From the Flight School series

A small round penguin with lofty aspirations finds success of a sort in a sweet, if slight, appreciation of the resourcefulness of teachers.

The sign near a cluster of wooden pilings in the middle of the water reads “FLIGHT SCHOOL / WE TEACH BIRDS TO FLY.” “I was hatched to fly,” announces Penguin upon his arrival from the South Pole. “I have the soul of an eagle,” he assures the gently dubious Teacher. “Penguin and the other birdies practiced for weeks,” but he succeeds only in plunging into the ocean—not terribly gracefully. He is ready to give up when a solution devised by Teacher and Flamingo has Penguin flying, if only for a few moments, and his happiness at this one-time achievement is lasting. Judge’s edge-to-edge watercolor-and-pencil art is lively and amusing. Her various sea and shore birds—gulls, a pelican, a heron and a small owl among them—and their fledglings are just a little scruffy, and they are exaggeratedly, expressively funny in their anthropomorphic roles as teachers and students. Background shades of warm yellow, sea blue and green, and brown sand let the friendly, silly faces and bodies of the birds take center stage.

Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something so far out of reach. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-14424-8177-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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