From New Zealand, an inventive and delightful tale that evokes Thumbelina, the Borrowers, and other beloved wee characters.

THE TINY WOMAN'S COAT

When a very tiny woman needs a new coat, she gets lots of practical help.

She is determined to make the coat but needs tools and supplies. Autumn trees shed their beautiful leaves to provide the coat’s cloth. A grey goose uses its beak as scissors to cut the leaves into body and sleeves. A porcupine generously offers a quill as needle. Thread comes from a horse’s mane, and wild weeds scatter seeds for buttons. When the coat is complete, it gives her warmth and comfort through cold and storm. With text constructed in a folkloric style, each interaction begins, on one double-page spread, “The tiny woman wanted a coat,” followed by the question of where to acquire a needed element. Each donation is offered on the subsequent double-page spread, accompanied by an italicized, expository refrain. “Rustle, rustle, rustle” say the leaves; “snip, snip, snip” goes the goose’s bill; and the porcupine’s quill is “sharp, sharp, sharp.” Young readers will have fun echoing the repetitive phrases throughout the tale, adding their own voices to the narration. The pale-skinned, redheaded protagonist is indeed tiny, depicted in Clarkson’s detailed illustrations as snail-sized, with plants, grasses, and the helpful animals towering over her. Sharp eyes will note the mushroom umbrella that shelters her and her coat from the rainstorm.

From New Zealand, an inventive and delightful tale that evokes Thumbelina, the Borrowers, and other beloved wee characters. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77657-342-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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