A splendid springboard to both STEM and art activities.

BLUE FLOATS AWAY

The water cycle gets the anthropomorphic treatment.

When Little Blue breaks off from his parents—a single iceberg with two heads—he’s swept away by the surrounding waves. Unsure if he’ll ever return, Blue drifts farther and farther away, witnessing snow and eventually finding companionship: fish, the moon, and boats, which help him learn about winds and currents. But Blue discovers he’s changing. As the sky warms, he grows ever smaller until he melts into the surrounding water; unable to help him, his friends leave. Then Blue evaporates, condenses, and becomes a cloud. In the sky, he meets new friends who help orient him toward home; on the way, Blue changes again, bringing about a happy reunion. This tale is told in easily comprehensible terms for the youngest readers and listeners. Blue is an accessible, sweet character who brings emotional depth to an important science concept. Dazzling illustrations, created with cut paper, colored pencil, and white ink, will hold kids’ rapt attention while they hear, wide-eyed, about Blue’s destiny. Illustrations aptly feature shades of vivid blues, but eye-popping pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, and purples also emblazon these pages. Blue and his parents are expressive even though their faces are depicted merely with light-blue dots. An author’s note explains the water cycle and climate change, and it offers tips to protect the planet. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 48.7% of actual size.)

A splendid springboard to both STEM and art activities. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4423-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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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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