Math, travel, friendship, and ingenuity blend for a quirky, entertaining, and satisfying tale.


For the price of 5 cents, almost anything is possible!

Ben, a determined kid with light skin and spiky dark hair, finds and earns nickels to buy a treat at the fair. He doesn’t expect to find the world’s longest licorice rope for only 5 cents, but for that price, how can he refuse? Following the rope ends up being a journey around the world, and somehow, the entrepreneurial, light-skinned girl who sold him the rope is always there with what he needs (a boat, a lion-proof outfit, a pyramid tour, a hot air balloon, and more)—at the cost of 5 cents per item. Playful, detailed, cartoonlike illustrations show our plucky hero as he travels, engages in adventure, spends his nickels—and gets very, very tired. What’s at the end of the rope? A dark-skinned child named Jimmy who’s been sold the same piece of licorice. Meeting a friend? Another 5 cents, please! But what is the cost of a friend? Aren’t they priceless? Is there a way all three kids can solve this puzzle? This imaginative, unpredictable, and action-filled story can be seamlessly integrated into math, humanities, and social-emotional learning curricula and is sure to be a favorite with those who love travel and adventure. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Math, travel, friendship, and ingenuity blend for a quirky, entertaining, and satisfying tale. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18001-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.


Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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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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