While preschoolers dip in and out for fun, older kids could use these inventively expanded color definitions as inspiration...

POMELO EXPLORES COLOR

An unusual look at colors provides something for preschoolers and something more for older kids.

Pomelo, a tiny elephant, initially appears integrated into a black-and-white checkerboard, his body black where the squares are white and vice versa. Wanting more, he becomes pink and “rediscovers” color in his garden environment. One sentence carries the text through 120 pages in this small, square volume, but that sentence never stretches thin. Each spread showcases an example of a single hue. Badescu places all the whites in a row, then the yellows, then the oranges, creating a calm neatness that holds things steady while the color examples bounce between conventional and complex. From familiar (“the glowing yellow of fireflies”) to surprising (“the happy gray of rain”), from abstract (“the gray of things you can’t quite remember”) to concrete (“the green-gray of rot”), the sensibility’s always whimsical. A subtle philosophical arc charts how “the promising red of ripening strawberries” becomes “the mysterious blue of dreams”—Pomelo dreams, in blue, of future strawberries—and then “the deflating gray of disappointment” as the fruit, crushingly, turns gray on the plant. Chaud’s art is sweet, offbeat and eye-catching, even when oranges and carrots are darker than real life.

While preschoolers dip in and out for fun, older kids could use these inventively expanded color definitions as inspiration in an art or English classroom. (Picture book. 3-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59270-126-1

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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