Unabashedly artsy and sure to enjoy a long stay on the read-again shelf.

CAN PUP FIND THE PUPS?

From the I Like To Read series

In this seek-and-find story aimed at children beginning their reading journey, readers follow a young boy and his dog as they search for naughty, elusive puppies.

An artistic boy who is the namesake of Britain’s famous Tate art gallery leaves home and walks to a museum with his rainbow-hued poodle, Pup, in tow. As they enter the museum, Pup notices five poodle pups, each a different color, trailing them. Once inside, the little whelps promptly blend into the elaborate exhibits. While Pup relentlessly searches for them with binoculars, Tate draws dinosaurs, planets, and butterflies in his sketchbook. Each time he draws, the text challenges readers to find the hidden pups in his crowded artwork. On the way home, Pup is gloomy, uncertain as to the puppies’ fates. Children and adults alike will smile at the happy ending. This leveled reader uses predictable and repetitive text with sight words, but there is just enough variety in the sentences to support the amusing narrative. The illustrations, created with black gesso, ink, graphite, colored pencil, and watercolor, are the real centerpiece. Kirsch is just as adept at rendering the colorful museum exhibits as the grayscale, childlike drawings in Tate’s sketchbook. Young readers will find the fun Where’s Waldo?–element of this story hard to resist. Tate and the only other human character, a museum docent, are both White.

Unabashedly artsy and sure to enjoy a long stay on the read-again shelf. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4605-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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 welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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