A WATERMELON IN THE SUKKAH

A mediocre, bland offering for the holiday shelf.

A child’s favorite fruit creates a challenge for his class when it comes time for the annual ritual of decorating the classroom’s Sukkah, the traditional outdoor hut for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Michael arrives at school with a choice fruit, following his teacher’s request to bring in a favorite one. As the children prepare to hang their bananas, pears, grapes and oranges, Michael realizes that his large, round, heavy watermelon will be difficult to suspend, as is the custom, from the open-air latticed roof of the Sukkah. Ideas abound: a basket of sorts could be made from lots of string, or rubber bands, or tape….Disappointed but not discouraged, Michael tries a hammock-style approach made from a large piece of fabric and four hooks, and to everyone’s surprise, it works. Perhaps a pumpkin will be next? Stock cartoon faces dominate the colorful gouache paintings of a Judaic school. The story, too, feels dutiful rather than inspired, an off-the-shelf plot to fill a niche rather than a meaningful celebration of this joyous holiday.

A mediocre, bland offering for the holiday shelf. (note) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7613-8118-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

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

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY FROM THE CRAYONS

A predictable series entry, mitigated as usual by the protagonists’ perennially energetic positivity.

A holiday-centered spinoff from the duo behind the inspired The Day the Crayons Quit (2013).

With Green Crayon on vacation, how can the waxy ones pull off a colorful St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Duncan, their (unseen) owner? Through their signature combo of cooperation and unwavering enthusiasm, of course. Blue and Yellow collaborate on a field of shamrocks that blends—however spottily—into green. Nearly invisible White Crayon supplies an otherwise unclothed light-skinned leprechaun with undies, and Orange draws a pair of pants that match the wee creature’s iconic beard and hair. Pink applies colors to a vest, and Purple, a natty jacket and boots. Chunky Toddler Crayon contributes a “perfect” scribbly blue hat; Beige and Brown team up for the leprechaun’s harp. In arguably the best bit, Black exuberantly manifests a decidedly unvariegated rainbow, while Gold’s pot of coins is right on the money, hue-wise. Their ardor undimmed by the holiday’s missing customary color, everyone assembles to party. Though the repartee among the crayons isn’t as developed as in previous outings, the book hews close to Daywalt and Jeffers’ winning formula, and there’s still enough here to keep readers chuckling. And, in a droll “wait for it” moment nicely calibrated for storytime, Green returns from vacation, sunglasses and suitcase in hand: “Did I miss anything while I was gone?” (The cover illustrations do hint at some Green-inflected remediation.)

A predictable series entry, mitigated as usual by the protagonists’ perennially energetic positivity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593624333

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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