Lively scenes and a pro-reading theme combine for a solid title with buckets of kid appeal.

SHHH

From morning to evening, a child’s day pulses with the sounds that form this book’s only text.

At the breakfast table, the multiracial family slurps cereal and plops a tea bag as the radio intones “BLAHBLAHBLAH.” In a convivial bathroom scene, each person readies for the day, with a “FFFFT” of cologne, the “BZZZZ” of a shaver, and the “SWOOSH WHOOSH SWOOSH” of a toothbrush. Successive scenes picture travel to preschool, indoor and outdoor play, and naptime, accompanied by a teacher’s strumming guitar. Then it’s off for an indoor group swim, changing in a pleasantly kinetic locker room, and home again along busy streets. Ruiz Johnson beautifully depicts the high energy of young children in urban settings. Her bright, complementary palette employs blues and warm oranges to enliven the scenes. Children and adults embody wide-ranging skin tones and hair textures and sport a rainbow of colorful, patterned clothing. The child protagonist is seldom seen without an important-looking black-covered book, but it’s only after arriving home that its pages can finally be opened. Amid the whir of housework and meal prep, the child slips into another world, which the artist depicts as a darkly inviting, soundless scene of stars, botanical motifs, animals, an elf, and a mermaid. Through this lovely contrast, preschoolers will understand the transportive power of reading.

Lively scenes and a pro-reading theme combine for a solid title with buckets of kid appeal. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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