A charming (if rather implausible) celebration of a snowy, book-y, day

THE READER

Reading anytime, anywhere is touted in this story about a boy, his dog and a snowy day.

Never named in the text, the titular reader packs up a suitcase for a day of sledding and reading with his dog. Reaching the hilltop, they frolic about, making snow “angels … snowballs … more angels … and a snow dog for the dog.” Then, it’s time for “warm drinks and crunchy toast for two.” Well-fed and satisfied with their play, instead of heading home to read indoors, the reader takes out a book called Two Good Friends and reads aloud to his dog, delightedly saying, “Just like us!” at book’s end. After repacking the suitcase, they then sled downhill and return home. Although the premise might seem a bit odd—the snowy scene could spell book damage, after all—one might regard it as the wintertime equivalent of a beach read. The evocation of imaginative play on a snowy day is reminiscent of Uri Shulevitz’s Snow (1998) and, of course, The Snowy Day. Castillo’s soft, inked lines and luscious watercolors echo the text’s gentle tone. Subtle incorporation of white painted letters falling like snow around the pair during the read-aloud scene adds a lovely touch to a spread begging to be made into a poster touting the joys of reading.

A charming (if rather implausible) celebration of a snowy, book-y, day . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7614-6184-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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