The combination of a simple but satisfying plot and vibrant art adds up to a story that succeeds on several levels. Yes, we...

CAN YOU FIND PUP?

From the I Like To Read series

In this amusing early reader, a young left-handed artist ignores his talented poodle until Pup runs away to join the circus.

The little boy, Tate, wears a black beret and a jaunty, red scarf as he creates pencil sketches of his cats, flowers and insects in his garden, and clowns at the circus. Pup makes desperate bids for Tate’s attention, painting his own fur with tubes of paint, swinging from a tree branch, and juggling balls for the clowns. When Pup follows the clowns and joins the circus, Tate is sad at the loss of his pet. He posts 10 colored-pencil portraits of Pup outside the circus tent, leading to a happy reunion of boy and dog. The story’s clever construction has a brightly colored illustration of Tate busily sketching on one double-page spread followed by a spread displaying Tate’s large, black-and-white drawing that includes 10 similar items in a busy seek-and-find design. The minimal text works well as an early reader, but this clever story will also be a fine choice for preschoolers who are learning to count to 10, and it even teaches a little about different art methods. Lively illustrations in watercolor and ink are filled with tiny details and funny expressions for Tate and Pup and their feline friends. All the human characters, including the clowns, present white.

The combination of a simple but satisfying plot and vibrant art adds up to a story that succeeds on several levels. Yes, we can find Pup! And we’d like to see him (and Tate) again. (Early reader/picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3940-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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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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