A fresh perspective on a cyclical topic.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A COAT?

Seasonal changes—and outfit changes, too.

As children fling open their doors to run outside, the titular question comes to mind: “Do I have to wear a coat?” Laid out in a similar style to those in Isadora’s previous musing on the senses, I Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) (2016), various vignettes of diverse tots explore spring, summer, fall, and winter. Each season is opened with a picture of the same pigtailed white youngster and a dog looking at a tree. As the seasons change, readers see differences to the leaves and changes to the child’s clothing. Spring brings flowers, baseball games, sidewalk chalk, and raincoats. Summer brings ice cream, fireflies, sand castles, and no coats at all! In the fall, sweaters are warm and cozy accompaniments for hayrides, jumping into leaf piles, and apple picking. Winter, the coat-iest season, brings snow angels, frosty air, steamy hot chocolate, and of course, bundles and bundles of coats! Isadora explores the seasons not only through outerwear, but also activities that are intimate and familiar to those who experience these seasons. Vignettes include racially diverse children; two kids in sports wheelchairs play tennis, and an amputee on crutches plays soccer. Children will feel each season deeply, with or without their coats!

A fresh perspective on a cyclical topic. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51660-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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