COLOR BLOCKED

Pipes get clogged and readers must help.

A steampunk-lite factory with curving, outdoor chutes and tubes—the whole thing possibly floating in the sky as its own planet—shoots colors into the air. The scene is brightly colored. On the second spread, the factory morphs into a black-line drawing of itself, not a single bit colored in; no color sprays out. “Uh-oh”—the color is “blocked,” and while some readers may wonder how a blockage of new liquid has rendered the whole factory suddenly black-and-white, others will dig into the instructions on helping. Shaking the book unclogs pipes; turning the book all the way around inexplicably straightens out twisted pipes; turning it sideways dumps out excess color. As primaries flow, they become secondaries; paint-y chaos builds until the bespectacled host turtle, overwhelmed, pleads, “Shut the boooooooooooook!” The color-mixing, paint textures, and splatters are visually fascinating, and the complex pipes are cool, but the paint flow and instructions seem arbitrary, and the illustrations are disjointed. Miles’ mixed media on board includes some stock images, and while it’s unclear which ones, that’s hardly a recommendation. Hervé Tullet’s Mix It Up (2014) is far more luscious, and Eric Telchin and Diego Funck’s Black and White Factory (2016) covers very similar ground, down to animal hosts wearing glasses; both feature reader participation.

Not a first choice. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-944822-82-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine.

THE FRIEND SHIP

All the animals are welcome to come aboard.

Hedgehog seems very lonely, “curled up in a prickly little ball in a lonely little nook of a lonely little tree.” When she overhears a sympathetic conversation about friendship “out there,” she perks up, picturing a beautiful “Friend Ship.” Hedgehog sets sail with a curious beaver in a small boat to find it. Before long, the duo spots a herd of migrating deer on the shore. Hedgehog asks if they’ve seen the Friend Ship; all reply that they could use a friend and hop aboard. Next, the company spies a rat, who asks to join them. They sail in multiple directions to no avail. Hedgehog begins to lose hope, but her companions convince her to persist. She spots a small island, its only resident an elephant. Hedgehog swims the distance and asks the elephant about the Friend Ship. The elephant points at Hedgehog’s small boat full of animals and asks, “Isn’t that it—right over there?” It’s a lightning-bolt moment. Hedgehog invites the elephant aboard, and they sail west, celebrating all the while…into the sunset together. Yeh makes effective use of dialogue and repetition, investing her characters with personality with just a few lines. Groenink employs sunny, warm hues that increase in saturation as the boat fills and Hedgehog becomes surrounded by friends.

A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0726-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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A cozy year-round delight.

I LOVE YOU ALL YEAR THROUGH

Animal caregivers express their love for their little ones throughout the seasons in this addition to the “I love you” shelf.

Markers of the seasons loom large in this salute to parent-child bonds—spring blossoms and rains, autumn leaves, the summer sun and haze. “I love you in the winter / when the frost is on the trees. // When ice lights up the night / and snowflakes drift upon the breeze.” Stansbie’s gentle rhymes continue in this pattern through spring, summer, and autumn before summing the year up: “In wind and rain and sun, / from dawn to dusk and all year through… // You are my darling precious one. / Forever I’ll love you!” A different duo is shown on each spread, and the animals are familiar favorites: bear, fox, deer, rabbit, bird, otter, horse, lion, wolf, red squirrel, whale, and polar bear. Simple though gorgeously dappled backgrounds capture the basics of the animals’ various habitats. Mason’s use of light is masterful; many of the illustrations capture the animals at golden hour, and this contributes to the cozy mood evoked by the text. Though the animals’ expressions tend toward anthropomorphism, most of their actions are natural.

A cozy year-round delight. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984851-49-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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