Expresses what many already know: Teaching is much more than just grades.



Equal parts love letter and gratitude to those who teach.

Teachers too often go unsung. Rosenthal sets out to change that. The opening spread doesn’t beat around the bush: A large “THANK YOU” is scrawled across a banner held by a group of beaming children. Thanks for what? “Just because.” Educators do their work everywhere, not just in the classroom, and Rosenthal and Hatam recognize this. They show inspiration happening in a youth orchestra, outdoors, a yoga studio, and various sports settings as well. Some of the platitudes may feel familiar—“Thank you for noticing I dream big and encouraging me to do just that”—but Hatam’s interpretations can put clever spins on oft-heard words; here, using white lines against a green background to emulate a chalkboard, she depicts a tot lassoing the moon. Children look up to their teachers with starry eyes, as Rosenthal understands (“You’re super kind, you’re super cool, and you’re my superhero!”), but often don’t fully appreciate their influence until later in their lives. Rosenthal actively encourages sharing the book with teachers—a later spread looks like a gift-wrapped box, with text reading, “this book is my gift to you”—but hopefully young readers will also be inspired to write thank-you notes of their own. Both teachers and children depicted are racially and ethnically diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 60.2% of actual size.)

Expresses what many already know: Teaching is much more than just grades. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-301274-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Safe to creep on by.


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.


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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