COLOR BLOCKED

Pipes get clogged and readers must help.

A steampunk-lite factory with curving, outdoor chutes and tubes—the whole thing possibly floating in the sky as its own planet—shoots colors into the air. The scene is brightly colored. On the second spread, the factory morphs into a black-line drawing of itself, not a single bit colored in; no color sprays out. “Uh-oh”—the color is “blocked,” and while some readers may wonder how a blockage of new liquid has rendered the whole factory suddenly black-and-white, others will dig into the instructions on helping. Shaking the book unclogs pipes; turning the book all the way around inexplicably straightens out twisted pipes; turning it sideways dumps out excess color. As primaries flow, they become secondaries; paint-y chaos builds until the bespectacled host turtle, overwhelmed, pleads, “Shut the boooooooooooook!” The color-mixing, paint textures, and splatters are visually fascinating, and the complex pipes are cool, but the paint flow and instructions seem arbitrary, and the illustrations are disjointed. Miles’ mixed media on board includes some stock images, and while it’s unclear which ones, that’s hardly a recommendation. Hervé Tullet’s Mix It Up (2014) is far more luscious, and Eric Telchin and Diego Funck’s Black and White Factory (2016) covers very similar ground, down to animal hosts wearing glasses; both feature reader participation.

Not a first choice. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-944822-82-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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