Storytime is solved with this addition to the bookcase.



A playful mystery culminates in a gentle message of conflict resolution.

The bold palette, knockout type, and the chalk characters’ big eyes contribute to the book’s striking design, with childlike, colorful, anthropomorphic sticks of chalk against a dark, blackboardlike background, digital lines emulating strokes of chalk. The story begins when the protagonists leave their drawings of flowers behind when their teacher, Mrs. Red, calls them for lunch, and when they return, they’re shocked that the drawings have disappeared. They redraw the flowers, and Mrs. Red adds a fence, but it fails to protect the new drawings when the chalks leave for storytime. “Sergeant Blue arrived to investigate…” reads the next spread, which depicts a blue, mustachioed chalk and his matching blue police car. Sgt. Blue notes “important evidence,” highlighting the width of the areas of absent markings and the presence of dust. He then assembles a lineup of suspects, including, among others, scissors, a ruler, and a chalkboard eraser of just the right width. It also has, as a tiny chalk exclaims, “A DUSTY RED BOTTOM!” A chase ensues to capture the eraser, but the chalks eventually understand that it isn’t a thief, it’s just fulfilling its natural role when it erases drawings. The happily-ever-after ending shows chalks and eraser playing together in a collaborative culmination of the whodunit tale.

Storytime is solved with this addition to the bookcase. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-18959-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.


From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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