PABLO

Delightful—will surely bring smiles to readers’ faces.

Playing it safe, a chick decides to hatch bit by bit.

With stark black images—mainly a black egg in center stage—set against a white background, Belgian author/illustrator Rascal tells the story of Pablo, the chick, as he hatches. As the story opens, Pablo is spending his last night in his shell. When morning comes, Pablo must gather his strength for the task ahead, and what better way than with a small croissant and a hot chocolate? The tone is set: Though the images may be black and white, Pablo is no black-and-white character. There is an endearing complexity to this cute little chick. “A little bit scared” yet a little curious, “Pablo starts with a little tiny hole.” One eye contemplates the world outside, then two. Bit by bit, he makes a hole for each ear, his beak, and then his legs. Now Pablo can see, hear, smell, and wander around. With an eighth and ninth hole his wings are freed, and he flies. “He’s not scared now!” Tempering bravery with caution, after emerging, Pablo saves a small piece of his shell, just in case. And what a good thing he does, as the last illustration shows a yellow chick sheltering from the rain under his shell/umbrella. Indeed, bravery is not a one-dimensional trait.

Delightful—will surely bring smiles to readers’ faces. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-776573-24-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

As ephemeral as a valentine.

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. 1, 2021

PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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