A fine addition to the sleepy sheepy canon.

ONE SHEEP, TWO SHEEP

A tired rooster just wants to get to sleep…now if only he can count the sheep.

Rooster settles down in bed to count himself to sleep with the classic device of counting sheep jumping over fences. He gets as far as three, but then Chicken hurdles the fence. “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! A CHICKEN?! / I’m sorry, but this is serious bedtime business. / I count SHEEP, okay? Just sheep!” A few more sheep jump, but then Pig puts in an appearance. Again, Rooster tells the farmyard that all he wants to count is sheep. Three more sheep hop over, but then Cow (in crown and tutu) leaps the fence. “Cock-a-doodle-DO WE NEED TO REVIEW? / Counting SHEEP helps me sleep.” Still awake, the rooster gets as far as 10 sheep, but then seven chicks “cheep” outside his coop. Rooster sternly addresses each animal in turn; each tries bleating like a sheep, but he tells them what sound they should make. All seems to be in order…but then all the sheep jump into the lake with Duck with a “Quack!” The solution? All his non-ovine friends, dressed as sheep, jump over the fence to lull their friend to sleep. Sauer’s bedtime barnyard book will work well for a nighttime read, with the caveat that Cummings’ silly cartoons will incite giggles here and there. The wide-eyed, smiling critters and the deadpan humor are a good pairing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fine addition to the sleepy sheepy canon. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4630-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

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. 2, 2021

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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