From the Construction Site series

May require multiple readings until the cows come home.

The many vehicles that help the farm run throughout all four seasons.

Trucks from Rinker’s previous outings roar up to the farm, ready to work. They meet Big Tractor and Pickup Truck, who show them the ropes. In spring, everyone helps to prep the fields, which involves plowing, planting, and clearing. Big Tractor and Little Tractor are the stars of that season. Summer is the time to gather hay for the livestock. Balers help roll it up. Excavator, Skid Steer, Bulldozer, and others also finally get to show off their skills during this season. The team also works together to construct a beautiful red barn—a moment that will draw comparisons to old-fashioned barn raisings. Autumn finds Combine and Augur harvesting, while winter sees Bulldozer clearing snow and Excavator moving hay. Each season has specific jobs on the farm, with nary a human in sight. The lovable, multiwheeled protagonists get up at sunrise, tend to the fields with smiles on their grills, and roll into night after a hard day’s work, proud of their contributions. Ford’s carefully composed illustrations use color to lovely effect, employing verdant hues for spring and golden yellows for summer. Truck enthusiasts will step right up for this next installment, and urban tots will glimpse a whole new world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

May require multiple readings until the cows come home. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79721-387-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022


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


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

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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