A warm, quiet ode to imagination.


Siblings dream up extraordinary sights while walking their dog.

When Mom asks Maisie to walk their dog, Tinker, sibling Jonah—who uses a manual wheelchair and wears leg braces—asks to come along. So, the text rhythmically relates, “dog pulling, / Maisie pushing, / they set off.” But it’s not long before the rambunctious pup runs off after a cat. As Maisie wrangles Tinker, Jonah points out some unexpected sights. A tree becomes a “tree of cats” as feline faces take shape in the leaves; puffy orange flowers become a “popsicle garden.” The typeface jangles with a “bong, bong, bong” as Jonah pulls the dangling leaves of a “bell machine” tree, and it fades as they enter an “echo-y-y-y-y-y” tunnel of hanging laundry. The frazzled Maisie slowly joins in Jonah’s play, pointing out dinosaur-shaped clouds walking on “stilts” made of pointy trees. As they return to their starting point, Jonah wonders what Tinker sees. As Jonah blows on a just-picked bouquet, Maisie replies, “Oh, the goldfish… / …the goldfish snowing,” and they laugh beneath an orange flurry of fish and flower petals. Reality and imagination subtly intertwine in Barton’s bright, soft-edged illustrations. The children’s smiling faces are inviting, and Tinker’s mischievous antics add a humorous note. Though simple, the plot feels comfortably lived in; Maisie and Jonah’s interactions are delightfully ordinary, and refreshingly, Jonah’s disability requires no explanation. Maisie and Jonah present White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A warm, quiet ode to imagination. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9200-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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. 2, 2021

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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. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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