A folktale retelling that’s well-suited to a new generation of young readers.

READ REVIEW

A Case of Sense

What is the cost of a smell? Debut author Daemicke and veteran artist Bersani (Ocean Counting, 2016, etc.) answer this question by bringing a traditional tale into a present-day setting.

In a modern-looking Chinatown, young Ming is playing with an old-fashioned racing wheel when he smells something delicious. Fantastic aromas are coming from the house of notable curmudgeon Fu Wang, and Ming is suspicious—as well he ought to be. In turns out that Fu Wang’s chefs have created eight delicious dishes, and the chefs announce them to the neighborhood. Later in the day, Fu Wang announces that, as payment for the wonderful smells, he will collect 40 cents from each local family. It doesn’t seem like a large sum, but for the families that live near Fu Wang, it’s enough for them to protest his ridiculous demand and refuse to give him money. Fu Wang presses the issue and takes his neighbors to court. Ming sits in the audience and listens as the wise judge hears out the case. “The smells from Fu Wang’s food were not something we asked for. Why should we pay for them?” one of the neighbors protests. But when the judge asks each neighbor to produce 40 cents each, the neighbors fear they’ve lost the case. The joke, however, is on Fu Wang; the judge has each neighbor jingle their coins to pay for the smell of food with the sound of money. The folktale on which this story is based has versions in Japan, China, Korea, Turkey, and elsewhere, but young American readers will likely see it here for the first time. They’ll laugh at the justice served to Fu Wang and appreciate the wisdom of the judge. Bersani’s illustrations feature a wonderfully diverse cast of men and women of primarily Asian descent, although Fu Wang looks a bit like a stereotypical villain. The text on each page can be lengthy but the vocabulary is appropriate for a mid-elementary-school audience, who will get the most out of the tale; classroom-activity pages about the five senses, as well as a science experiment about diffusion, follow the text. The images also help move the story along at a steady pace.

A folktale retelling that’s well-suited to a new generation of young readers.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62855-852-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A happily multisensory exploration.

NOISY FARM

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more