Delacroix’s idyll allows young readers to discover new, exciting surprises in the pictures again and again upon second,...

GRAINS OF SAND

When a family vacation ends, sometimes that’s when imagination begins. How else does one manage the loss of ocean breezes and sand between the toes?

A calm palette of yellows, browns, and grays with touches of blue allows readers to experience the post-holiday disappointment of a young girl and her younger brother in a quiet, gentle way. Rather than offering loud screaming colors and mouths drawn like gaping maws of displeasure, Delacroix shows readers a quieter examination, turning frustration into whimsy. When the girl discovers that she has come home from their summer vacation at the beach with a shoe full of sand, she begins pouring it onto the ground. Her brother asks what she is doing, and she answers: “I have all these grains of sand, and I don’t want to throw them away… I know! Let’s plant them!” The two then embark on an adventure, picturing the harvest of their beach sand as bright yellow beach umbrellas or a field filled with ice cream cones, lemon flavored—if you please. Words are delivered as spare accompaniment to the beautiful, lush, almost tactile artwork. Expressions of sadness soon turn joyous with each imagined scenario. The siblings are both pale-skinned, the girl with a straight, black pageboy and the boy with a blond mop.

Delacroix’s idyll allows young readers to discover new, exciting surprises in the pictures again and again upon second, third, and 33rd readings—as captivating as an ocean breeze and soothing as a hug. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77147-205-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Slight and contrived.

LITTLE TACO TRUCK

A little orange food truck parks in the same place every day, bringing tacos to hungry construction workers—till one morning, a falafel truck takes his spot.

Miss Falafel then brings by more of her friends, crowding out the taco truck. Little Taco Truck whines and cries, but after four days of being shut out by the bigger trucks, he finally takes the initiative. He spends the night in his former parking space, defending his territory when the other trucks arrive. The rest immediately apologize, and after some creative maneuvering, everyone fits—even the newly arrived noodle truck. Valentine’s naïve call for cooperation glosses over the very real problem of urban gentrification represented by the flood of bigger and better-equipped trucks taking over the neighborhood. When the taco truck is the only game in town, the food line consists of hard-hatted construction workers. Then, as falafel, arepa, gelato, hot dog, and gumbo trucks set up shop, professionals and hipsters start showing up. (All the customers are depicted as animals.) The author also inadvertently equates tacos with a lack of sophistication. “ ‘Hola, Miss Fal…Fal…’ Little Taco Truck tried to sound out the words on the side of the other truck.” Sadly, the truck sells Americanized crisp-shelled tacos. Even the glossary ignores the culinary versatility and cultural authenticity of the soft taco with this oversimplified and inaccurate definition: “A crispy Mexican corn pancake folded or rolled around a filling of meat, beans, and cheese.”

Slight and contrived. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6585-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

more