A marvelous portrayal of the humor and uncertainty surrounding growth—and the comfort in having a fellow traveler.


This Duck (a confident female) and That Duck (a trepidatious male) enjoy each other’s companionship in the “wadey-water” until discovering a wider world makes the extrovert wish for more friends.

This Duck yearns to lead a “more ducky” line when they move about, prompting her to wish for Other Ducks. Yeomans’ language is a delightful combination of the childlike and the existential. When questioned about the meaning of “Other Ducks,” she replies, “Like us, only not us.” Sheban’s soft, textured compositions are rendered in watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite; they start out sunny, with warm greens and yellows in the foreground and cool lavender shadows and shapes on the horizon. The lighting and mood change with the seasons and situations. As they explore, This Duck, who is observant but not always accurate, speaks to her mate in ways that will remind adults of an old married couple. Their misunderstandings and postures are humorous, as when they see their reflections and attempt to coax their new liquid companions into line. Nature’s pull leads the pair to follow their autumnal instincts—learning to fly and falling into formation with others of their kind. While that experience is exhilarating, it pales in comparison to the feeling next summer when four adorable ducklings bring up the rear.

A marvelous portrayal of the humor and uncertainty surrounding growth—and the comfort in having a fellow traveler. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-502-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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As ephemeral as a valentine.


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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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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