An infectious seasonal read-aloud.

THE COW SAID BOO!

The cow’s cold turns her moo into a boo, scaring all of the farm animals—and even, thankfully, a would-be predator.

With the repeated refrain “the cow said, ‘Boo!’ ” Button’s story lends itself perfectly to a preschool group read-aloud. When the ill (and therefore clumsy) cow stumbles into a clothesline and becomes enveloped in a ghostly sheet, she unintentionally shocks her fellow farm animals. Seeing her friends’ terrified reactions to her greetings, the still-enshrouded cow sadly goes off by herself. But when she notices a fox creeping toward her friends, she uses her new scariness to save the farm. Button’s rhyming text hits at just the right pace, encouraging participation from little readers. Kids will love being in on the joke that the cow isn’t really a ghost, and the silliness of the animal sounds when they all catch the cow’s cold will certainly elicit many a giggle. Carter’s illustrations include subtle hints at fall and Halloween even though the text doesn’t explicitly mention the season: Pumpkins dot the field, there’s a jack-o’-lantern shirt on the clothesline, and leaves float across the pages. The real visual highlight, however, is the progression of frames showing the fox sneaking through the field of snoozing animals. The glow of the moonlight acts as a spotlight on the fox, drawing readers’ attention to the action the animals don’t notice. The rear endpapers present five illustrated steps to “wash your hooves and paws!” and keep colds away.

An infectious seasonal read-aloud. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77278-216-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 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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