For readers on the Pigeon end of the spectrum, this will hit the spot, but those who love Willems’ quieter protagonists may...

A BUSY CREATURE'S DAY EATING

AN ALPHABETICAL SMORGASBORD

With Willems’ name on it, this abecedary is bound to be zany—and it is.

This over-the-top “smorgasbord” is a tale of a raucous creature that chomps and chews everything in sight, from A to Z. But wait—this is not one of Willems’ simple Elephant and Piggie early readers, nor is it the story of a little girl and her beloved stuffed bunny. This creature is not avian, but it’s a kissing cousin to Willems’ pigeon. The blocky purple character with googly orange eyes wears a blue-and-red–striped shirt and pants (or perhaps pajamas), and it has a black, bulbous nose and protruding white teeth. The beginning letters of its monumental meal stand for common edible items: “Apple! Berries! Cereal!” Then it goes bananas, eating “Furniture!…Kilt! Lunch Box! [and] Napkins!” that induce a run to the “POTTY!” No one will be surprised to learn that the creature is “Queasy” and needs to “Vomit.” An adult figure arrives on the scene with hugs and kisses (“XO-XO-XO!”), and the creature emits a huge “YAWN…” and is finally “Zonked.” Children will follow right along with the creature’s mishaps, and they will enjoy predicting (incorrectly) what it might eat and (correctly) what happens as its face starts to turn green. They’ll also appreciate the kindliness of the adult figure who shows no anger but instead tends lovingly to its charge.

For readers on the Pigeon end of the spectrum, this will hit the spot, but those who love Willems’ quieter protagonists may find it an abrupt change of pace. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01352-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a...

SKY COLOR

Reynolds returns to a favorite topic—creative self-expression—with characteristic skill in a companion title to The Dot (2003) and Ish (2004).

Marisol is “an artist through and through. So when her teacher told her class they were going to paint a mural…, Marisol couldn’t wait to begin.” As each classmate claims a part of the picture to paint, Marisol declares she will “paint the sky.” But she soon discovers there is no blue paint and wonders what she will do without the vital color. Up to this point, the author uses color sparingly—to accent a poster or painting of Marisol’s or to highlight the paint jars on a desk. During her bus ride home, Marisol wonders what to do and stares out the window. The next spread reveals a vibrant departure from the gray tones of the previous pages. Reds, oranges, lemon yellows and golds streak across the sunset sky. Marisol notices the sky continuing to change in a rainbow of colors…except blue. After awakening from a colorful dream to a gray rainy day, Marisol smiles. With a fervent mixing of paints, she creates a beautiful swirling sky that she describes as “sky color.” Fans of Reynolds will enjoy the succinct language enhanced by illustrations in pen, ink, watercolor, gouache and tea.

Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a problem on one’s own—creatively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2345-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more