It may be a romantic view, but it is nevertheless a very appealing one.

SHARING THE BREAD

AN OLD-FASHIONED THANKSGIVING STORY

A gentle rhyme scheme and a palette that brings to mind folk art shape a nostalgic and rather sentimental view of the holiday.

The narrator is one of the small boys of the featured household, and he, with his red hair and russet waistcoat, is in every frame. Each family member has a task. Daddy fills the wood stove, Mama prepares the turkey, Brother bastes it, Grandpa makes the cranberry sauce, and so on. All of the activity is related in an easy, pleasing rhyme. “Sister, knead the rising dough. / Punch it down, then watch it grow. / Line your loaves up in a row. / Sister, knead the dough.” The narrator assists wherever he can, though he needs Grandpa to hold him up to stir the berries, and it is his idea to make Pilgrim hats for place mats. While the clothing and kitchen items evoke the Victorian era, this is meant more as memory or imagination than history. One might quibble that a family this well-to-do would probably have had servants doing much of the cooking, that the menfolk would very likely have left the cooking duties to the women, and that the dog and cat who also figure in most of the scenes might not have gotten along quite so well (or been so present in the kitchen).

It may be a romantic view, but it is nevertheless a very appealing one. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-307-98182-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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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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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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