A love story that’s anything but robotic.

ROBOT IN LOVE

McBeth’s author/illustrator debut is an unlikely love story.

Robot’s routine day—unplug, eat a slice of bread, leave when its wristwatch beeps—is interrupted when it sees her on Electric Avenue (yes, really). While readers aren’t privy to her identity until the end, they do get clues: She’s shiny, their connection is “electric,” and their meeting spot seems to be a store window. Meanwhile, bowtie-and–business-suit–clad Robot’s life is changed forever. It has hearts for pupils, it doesn’t watch where it’s going, it sniffs flowers and jumps in puddles (not recommended for robots), its “hydraulic limbs felt weak.” It spends an evening making her some flowers out of old metal parts, but she’s gone from their meeting place. Its robotic systems fail to detect her anywhere (though readers will laugh at the language used to describe this: “scanning…negative”). But then it gets an idea and runs back to the store, this time going inside, where it finds its own true love. Sure, she doesn’t say a word and people give them strange looks, but Robot doesn’t seem to care. “We have so much in common. We’re both shy. We’re both shiny. // We both love toast.” The black, white, gray, pink, and red artwork is angular and stylized, suiting the high-tech subject matter, and McBeth has found a way to give a metal robot a heart and feelings through body language and facial expressions.

A love story that’s anything but robotic. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-18593-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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