BLACK ALL AROUND!

This earnest story told in rhyme focuses on things that are black in color, as seen through the eyes of a little African-American girl. Hubbell (Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!, 2003, etc.) provides a disparate collection of items (a limousine, black cats, crickets) and concepts (the inside of a pocket, the night sky, "the empty place where a tooth should be") that are black (or dark brown) in color. The cheerfully celebratory concept of black as a "sleek and jazzy, warm and cozy" color is a bit forced, and the rhyme scheme is not consistent throughout the volume, causing a rather jarring effect when the text is read aloud. Due to the demands of the rhyming word pairs, many items are in juxtaposition that have no logical relationship to each other or to the child narrator, but Tate (Summer Sun Risin', 2002, etc.) creatively solves these design challenges with his illustrations. His acrylic paintings flow across double-page spreads, filled with swirling lines, varied perspectives, and neon bright shades to balance out the black items under discussion. The little girl's family is also included in the illustrations, with a smiling dad who looks quite a bit like the illustrator's photo on the back flap. The author's rhymes try hard to make black an intriguing, special shade, but it is Tate's vibrant art that pulls the concept together. (Picture book. 3-7)

 

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-58430-048-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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