This hilarious, inspirational, and infinitely familiar story about greeting life’s inconveniences with good humor will make...

STILL STUCK

A child dreams of conquering the world even when clothing proves tricky in this Japanese story translated into English.

It’s bathtime, and the stubborn protagonist insists on getting undressed without any help from Mom. But, as anyone who spends time with young children knows, shirts are notoriously difficult to take off. The young, light-skinned narrator gets stuck in the bright yellow shirt, unable to see, arms hopelessly entangled. The kid becomes quickly resigned to the inevitable, even optimistic: “I was sure lots of important people had been stuck before,” the child muses in front of an imagined, admiring crowd, the pulled-up, inside-out shirt exposing a pink belly. The challenges of being stuck in a shirt are addressed and overcome. “But what if I got thirsty? / I would find a way”: an extra-long straw. The child starts thinking about the friendships that could be formed with other children stuck with their shirts over their heads and dreams of summiting a mountain—“But then I got cold.” The child valiantly tries self-extrication again, hoping that wriggling out of their pants will help (it doesn’t). Mom finally comes to the rescue, hauling our protagonist off to the tub, a few cheeky butt cameos rounding out the humor. Throughout, Yoshitake uses cartoon conventions to great effect, multiple legs indicating frantic scrabbling, motion lines futility and frustration.

This hilarious, inspirational, and infinitely familiar story about greeting life’s inconveniences with good humor will make adults and children alike giggle. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2699-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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