BLACK ALL AROUND!

This earnest story told in rhyme focuses on things that are black in color, as seen through the eyes of a little African-American girl. Hubbell (Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!, 2003, etc.) provides a disparate collection of items (a limousine, black cats, crickets) and concepts (the inside of a pocket, the night sky, "the empty place where a tooth should be") that are black (or dark brown) in color. The cheerfully celebratory concept of black as a "sleek and jazzy, warm and cozy" color is a bit forced, and the rhyme scheme is not consistent throughout the volume, causing a rather jarring effect when the text is read aloud. Due to the demands of the rhyming word pairs, many items are in juxtaposition that have no logical relationship to each other or to the child narrator, but Tate (Summer Sun Risin', 2002, etc.) creatively solves these design challenges with his illustrations. His acrylic paintings flow across double-page spreads, filled with swirling lines, varied perspectives, and neon bright shades to balance out the black items under discussion. The little girl's family is also included in the illustrations, with a smiling dad who looks quite a bit like the illustrator's photo on the back flap. The author's rhymes try hard to make black an intriguing, special shade, but it is Tate's vibrant art that pulls the concept together. (Picture book. 3-7)

 

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-58430-048-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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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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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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