Those looking for a solar system primer shouldn’t drop out of orbit for this one.

LITTLE SLEEPY SOLAR SYSTEM

A bedtime rhyme introduces little ones to the solar system.

The first double-page spread introduces the sun, the eight planets, and Pluto (with a question mark); all have eyes, mouths, and arms and look as though they are made of felt and stitched to a quilt. These celestial bodies demonstrate numbers, colors, and opposites in rhyming verse, but Venus, who represents orange, is a bit too yellow, whereas Mars, seen on a previous page, would have done very nicely as orange. Gender stereotypes are subtly evident, with Mars wearing a baseball cap and evidently female-presenting planets given eyelashes. Earth is shown wearing a dress and hair/cloud clips, making it hard to identify our planet. The final double-page spread shows nightcap-wearing planets getting ready for bed, with the parental sun shushing everyone. While the verse scans relatively well, the art is confusing and makes it hard for little ones to identify the planets by their key features.

Those looking for a solar system primer shouldn’t drop out of orbit for this one. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-936669-85-1

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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