Winter captures in two dimensions a great deal of the evocative nature of Cornell’s three-dimensional work in a way that...

MR. CORNELL'S DREAM BOXES

A gentle homage to artist Joseph Cornell explores artistic inspiration for very young readers and listeners.

Winter presents Cornell in the context of home on Utopia Parkway: caring for his brother upstairs, dreaming in his backyard, assembling his unique shadow boxes in the cellar of the house in Queens, New York, where artists and collectors eventually come to visit, as the author’s note reveals. Winter offers a look at a form of artistic expression within reach of her audience, explaining that Cornell was neither painter nor sculptor, yet he created “WONDERLANDS covered in glass.” She charmingly discloses that Cornell loved sweets and imagines child readers or listeners as one of the neighbors Cornell might have invited to a special exhibit of his boxes. Winter’s digitally rendered art is delicate and inviting. Images repeat and transform from imagined glimpses through the windows of Cornell’s house to a view into the artist’s dreams and memories. The plain outlines of his house are overlaid with images of a swan and a moon in one illustration, bright birds in another. She conveys the dreamlike quality of his work, even when strange or disquieting: “He remembered learning about stars, / and how the endless sky scared him.”

Winter captures in two dimensions a great deal of the evocative nature of Cornell’s three-dimensional work in a way that will be intriguing for the very young. (Picture book/biography. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9900-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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