For readers who can get past the head-scratching color names (would anyone guess that “xanadu” is actually greenish gray?),...

ABC COLOR

From the Little Concepts series

From “apricot” to “zomp,” an introduction for little ones to little-known Pantone colors.

The first two introductory double-page spreads remind readers about the “colors you may already know,” such as red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple. The following 13 spreads present a bevy of additional hues, each beginning with a subsequent letter of the alphabet. On the G and H pages, “goldenrod” and “honeydew” are paired, and readers see a passenger with brown skin being driven by a white driver in a goldenrod taxi with a honeydew stripe. While many of these new shades are enticing and make for intriguing combinations (such as the “onyx” and “persimmon” match-up that’s depicted by a black cat sporting rosy-orange features and accessories), others seem to point to names of colors found only in clothing catalogs (“quartz” for gray, “daffodil” for yellow, and “razzmatazz” for, presumably, raspberry). Arrhenius’ art is playful and includes bold, graphically striking designs of various animals and people with endearing faces. The final pages review the alphabet and the colors depicted in the subsequent spreads.

For readers who can get past the head-scratching color names (would anyone guess that “xanadu” is actually greenish gray?), it’s a fun, new take on the color concept book. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63322-336-3

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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An amusing and lively read that celebrates a venerable literary form.

KNOCK KNOCK

A bear desperate to hibernate seeks refuge from neighbors.

A big brown bear is dressed in pajamas and ready to turn in for winter when suddenly: “KNOCK KNOCK.” “Who’s there?” asks the bear. “Justin the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by!” responds a fox bearing an arm full of firewood, and thus begins a series of knock-knock jokes that brings more and more woodland neighbors into the bear’s home. The bear grows increasingly frustrated as the illustrations grow ever more frantic, the compositions filled with animals bearing party supplies, food, and gifts. Eventually it is revealed that the bear’s neighbors are merely wishing their friend a safe and happy hibernation, and readers as well as the grouchy bear will find their hearts warming as a tiny chipmunk embraces its leg, proclaiming, “Al miss you all winter long.” Little readers will enjoy the narrative Sauer builds on these knock-knock jokes, and the repetition of the format will encourage them to create some of their own. The dynamic illustrations pop with color and noise, juxtaposing nicely with the bear in PJs who’s clearly desperate for some shut-eye. The end goal of sleep makes this a nice bedtime read-aloud, particularly for little readers who may be resisting the end of the day, even as the giant, red “KNOCK KNOCK”s encourage raucous storytime participation.

An amusing and lively read that celebrates a venerable literary form. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-11694-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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