Though it lacks the brevity of Aesop, this lightly Christmas-y twist has some charm

THE WINTER FOX

Fox plays all summer long and doesn’t take care to prepare for winter.

In green and golden double-page spreads, Fox gambols and loafs while his friends busy themselves preparing for winter and offering to help him do the same. When they tell him they will be snug in their dens all winter long, he replies, “I will play in the snow and sing to the wind and have the whole forest to myself!” Naturally, once winter does come, Fox finds himself bitterly regretting his imprudent ways. Thinking to himself, “Oh, I wish I’d listened to my friends,” Fox looks for a star to wish on and is bonked on the head by a falling box wrapped in bright paper. (In the distance, a dim silhouette of a flying sleigh and reindeer can be espied, the only hint of Santa’s presence in the book.) Fox opens the box and finds various foodstuffs and smaller wrapped boxes, which he distributes among his friends. After a feast, they counsel him to store the leftovers to get him through the rest of the winter. Each soft-focus illustration is embellished with silver foil for maximum sparkle, highlighting birchbark, dead grasses, and snowdrifts. All the animals are so fuzzy and nonthreatening it’s easy to imagine this Fox playing with instead of eating his squirrel and rabbit friends.

Though it lacks the brevity of Aesop, this lightly Christmas-y twist has some charm . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9631-3

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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