This may get a few chuckles, but for true laughs that have stood the test of time, stick with the original literal-thinker:...

THE KNITWITS MAKE A MOVE!

A combination of the Dumb Bunnies and Amelia Bedelia, the KnitWits will surely appeal to juvenile humor. Parents? Not so much.

The KnitWit family is moving to a new home, a venture that seemingly consists of walking down the street. Magically, their boxes of belongings are already there and take no time at all to unpack. What’s left to do? Why, have a housewarming party, of course. The family of five busily goes about the house tacking up scarves and hats and sweaters, then turns to the question of treats for their guests. They “serve” a mix of salty and sweet snacks with a tennis racket and put the cake in the freezer to “ice” it. The KnitWits’ “straightening up,” “throwing open the door” for their guests and “toasty” house at the end of a satisfying party also have double meanings that will have readers shaking their heads at Tabby’s easy comedy. Erika Burling’s knit characters, each with his or her own personality and accessories, are plopped into Wildish’s tongue-in-cheek digital illustrations, creating a contrast between the real and the cartoon as well as between the 3-D KnitWits and their flat, illustrated neighbors.

This may get a few chuckles, but for true laughs that have stood the test of time, stick with the original literal-thinker: Amelia Bedelia. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 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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