Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last.

GREEN IS FOR CHRISTMAS

Familiar crayon characters argue over which color is the essential Christmas color.

Green starts by saying that green is for Christmas. After all, green is for holly. But Red objects. Red is for candy canes. Green is for fir trees, Green retorts. But Red is for Santa Claus, who agrees. (Santa is depicted as a white-bearded White man.) Then White joins the fray. After spending the year being invisible, White isn’t giving up the distinction of association with Christmas. Snow, anyone? But then there’s Silver: stars and bells. And Brown: cookies and reindeer! At this point, everyone is confused. But they come together and agree that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without all of them together. Someone may get the last word, though. In Daywalt and Jeffers’ now-signature style, the crayon-written text is spare and humorous, while the crayon characters engage with each other against a bare white background, vying for attention. Dot-eyed faces and stick legs on each object turn them all into comical, if similar, personalities. But the series’ original cleverness is absent here, leaving readers with a perfunctory recitation of attributes. Fans of the crayon books may delight in another themed installment; those who aren’t already fans will likely find it lacking. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-35338-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 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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