A lovely book that ties the Christmas message of friendship and generosity to the satisfaction of a job well-done. (Picture...

CONSTRUCTION SITE ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT

From the Construction Site series

A jolly team of trucks rushes to build a firehouse in time for Christmas.

With a big-city skyline in the background, Bulldozer clears the way for Excavator to dig the foundation. Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, and Crane Truck all do their parts for a brand-new fire station. As each ends his day (not one of these anthropomorphized trucks is gendered female, unfortunately), a special gift just for him awaits, with a thank-you card attached from the trucks’ unseen human crew. Rinker tells the story in rhyming couplets set in sans serif type that moves along with the trucks: “An icy wind blows in his face / but Dump Truck revs to keep the pace. / His back is sore, his tires are shot, / but Dump Truck gives it all he’s got….” Emulating Tom Lichtenheld’s style for this companion to the perennial bestseller, Ford’s colored-pencil illustrations in soft, rich tones vary between full double-page spreads and framed insets, shifting focus from each truck’s individual effort to the overall task at hand. The entire story is framed by spreads front and back that show the trucks asleep, ending with the words that are repeated throughout: “Merry Christmas! And…goodnight.” A crescent moon smiles benevolently above all.

A lovely book that ties the Christmas message of friendship and generosity to the satisfaction of a job well-done. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3911-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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