Young readers’ imaginations are sure to be fired by Sayre’s awe-inspiring photos and by the bite-sized science facts...

FULL OF FALL

From the Weather Walks series

Leaves of orange, gold, and red shout from amid the last of summer’s fading green canvas.

Shy at first, then with a bold advance, the ripple of flaming colors races through the forest like a metachronal wave until the miserly hoarders of chlorophyll are too embarrassed to do much more than sulk. A carpet of leaves; a canopy of leaves—a crescendo of leaves. Sayre’s stunning photographic images sweep across each majestic double-page spread. The rhyming text meanders from one-word identifiers—“Midribs”—to ecstatic exclamations: “So many leaves!” However, the irregular meter occasionally sputters. “Fall is ending. // Goodbye, leaf show. / Winter is coming…. // Oh, / hello, snow!” Also, whereas critters and weather figured prominently in Sayre’s previous offerings, here they are very minor players and are sorely missed. There are cameo appearances by wind and sun and only four shots of fauna—two squirrels, a mallard, and a flight of geese. This absence, especially as this is the season when forest animals and insects are frenetically preparing for the cold, contributes to a sterility of tone despite the wonder of fall’s audacious palette. In addition, the decision to introduce the next season is disappointing. Spring kept its nose out of Best in Snow (2016), and instead of stealing fall’s thunder, winter should have done the same. Fortunately, nature’s glorious riot overpowers these missteps.

Young readers’ imaginations are sure to be fired by Sayre’s awe-inspiring photos and by the bite-sized science facts provided at the end of the book. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7984-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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