WINTER

AN ALPHABET ACROSTIC

Schnur and Evans round out the year, producing another visually and verbally entrancing title following Autumn (1997), Spring (1999), and Summer (2001). Evans makes hand-colored linoleum blocks whose strong and supple graphic line sets off her rich colors. The images move from early winter through the holiday season to the drippy days late in the season, when you can leave your coat open and long for a bit of green. Schnur’s deceptively simple acrostics trace the alphabet and the season, as for example, Q: “Q uickly we leap from / U nder warm covers / I nto sweaters and boots, / L ate for school / T his cold, snowy morning.” The young girl in the picture is wrapped in a patchwork quilt as she glances at her alarm clock, her moon-and-star pajamas peeking out. While most of the pictures—and the poems—reflect a country air (duck ponds, rabbit burrows, horse-drawn sleighs), a greenhouse and a brick city street decked in holiday lights broaden the imagery. With this latest entry Schnur and Evans complete a most satisfying quartet that can be read with pleasure the whole year round. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-02374-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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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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Lacking in originality yet ultimately a timely mirror for black boyhood and childhood

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This companion to Happy Hair (2019) takes the same appreciation for the diversity of black self-expression from the beauty salon to the barbershop.

Branching out from black girl hairstyles, Roe here extends the conversation to consider the multitude of hairstyles for black and brown boys even as readers can infer a wider representation of the gender spectrum, since many of the illustrations come without explicit gender assignments. There’s a legacy of black boys who have been targeted, punished, or criticized for their choice of self-expression, and this book is a needed corrective. Arriving after the much-heralded Crown (2017), this makes space to celebrate a wide range of styles, from cornrows and curls to fro-hawks and flat-tops. Each matte, posterlike portrait is rendered alongside a catchy, empowering quote: “When the stars shine, / the world is mine” highlights a high-top; “A happy boy, / full of joy!” celebrates a step-up. A (rather trite) refrain pulls them all together: “i am born to be AWESOME!” Roe is returning to the series after Superheroes Are Everywhere (2019), her recent bestselling collaboration with Sen. Kamala Harris, undoubtedly bringing a number of new fans with her. For a segment of U.S. readership that is starved for representation that appreciates the unique details and nuances of their style and identity, this steps in to lift up their presence in bright, lively portraiture.

Lacking in originality yet ultimately a timely mirror for black boyhood and childhood . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9557-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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