Kids will find comfort in the familiar “needs” of the cold and knowing that they will get better soon to “run around and...

WHAT A COLD NEEDS

Being sick is never fun, but it helps to know exactly what a cold might need to go on its way.

Follow along as a young child copes with a cold and makes note of everything important to feel better. Warm socks, puppy snuggles, and a bit of sympathy from your siblings are just a few things that come to mind that help our young protagonist. The text phrases these necessities with lyricism and whimsy: A cold “likes to listen to the chirping of the birds // and the tinkling of raindrops, / with a clear view of the sweet blue sky.” Sheban’s soft-edged illustrations join Bottner’s soothingly paced text, offering full-page and vignette illustrations to accompany complex sentences beat by beat and slowing down for languorous double-page spreads where a single clause or simple declarative sentence stops to take its time for, for instance, some “music and a long, deep afternoon nap.” Here the child sleeps, mouth open (a red nose attests that it’s plugged), a snoozing dog atop the blankets and a radio emitting musical notes. The palette, sun-drenched greens and earth hues, is visual chicken soup. The protagonist’s mom has light-brown skin and her dad presents white, suggesting an interracial family.

Kids will find comfort in the familiar “needs” of the cold and knowing that they will get better soon to “run around and cause just a little trouble” once again. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4172-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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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 multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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