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From the Little Concepts series

For readers who can get past the head-scratching color names (would anyone guess that “xanadu” is actually greenish gray?),...

From “apricot” to “zomp,” an introduction for little ones to little-known Pantone colors.

The first two introductory double-page spreads remind readers about the “colors you may already know,” such as red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple. The following 13 spreads present a bevy of additional hues, each beginning with a subsequent letter of the alphabet. On the G and H pages, “goldenrod” and “honeydew” are paired, and readers see a passenger with brown skin being driven by a white driver in a goldenrod taxi with a honeydew stripe. While many of these new shades are enticing and make for intriguing combinations (such as the “onyx” and “persimmon” match-up that’s depicted by a black cat sporting rosy-orange features and accessories), others seem to point to names of colors found only in clothing catalogs (“quartz” for gray, “daffodil” for yellow, and “razzmatazz” for, presumably, raspberry). Arrhenius’ art is playful and includes bold, graphically striking designs of various animals and people with endearing faces. The final pages review the alphabet and the colors depicted in the subsequent spreads.

For readers who can get past the head-scratching color names (would anyone guess that “xanadu” is actually greenish gray?), it’s a fun, new take on the color concept book. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63322-336-3

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Who knew that turning the pages could be the best part of a book?

Counting down one by one, 10 birds fall off a branch.

The concept of this picture book is simple enough: 10 birds topple, slip, and dive their way off the titular twig until there is one left. The text itself echoes familiar singsong-y children’s rhymes like “Five Little Pumpkins.” While it mostly succeeds, there are some awkward spots: “5 on a twig, there used to be more… / SNAP! Don’t say a word, now there are four.” (On each page the number is both spelled out and represented as a numeral). The real scene stealer, however, is the book’s interplay between Cole’s illustrations and the physical pages themselves. In much the same way Eric Carle utilizes the pages in The Very Hungry Caterpillar to show the little critter eating its way through the week, Cole uses pages of increasing width to show how the twig grows shorter as each bird falls and marches off purposefully with the others, all headed toward verso with pieces of twig in their beaks. Stylistically, the book is captivating. The very colorful, egg-shaped birds appear on a single, thin black line on a stark white background. This backdrop stands in powerful contrast to the book’s final two pages, which are set against black negative space, a theme echoed in the book’s feather-print endpapers. The heavy, thick pages make it easy for little hands to participate. The text takes a back seat to the playful and compelling design, which is sure to delight readers.

Who knew that turning the pages could be the best part of a book? (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72821-593-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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