A bright and joyful celebration of the kaleidoscope of colors in readers’ families and communities.

A GIRL OF COLOR

A girl connects the colors of her life to the people around her in this picture book.

Young Morgan proudly states that she’s a girl of color. She points out that while she is a Black girl, that color doesn’t match her skin. Instead, her tone is golden brown, “like the sun-kissed leaves of autumn.” Her best friend is White, but her skin doesn’t look like snow—she’s peachy. On the following pages, Morgan describes how her family compares her with other colors, depending on her mood and the happiness she brings to others. She touches on the hues, patterns, and skin tones that surround her. Young’s accessible, first-person narrative, along with the clues in each of Hayden’s digital illustrations, makes this a strong selection for emergent readers. Like Young and Hayden’s previous book, I Too Allergic (2018), this title features a child advocating for herself. But in this case, the girl is pointing out the beauty of colors everywhere and encouraging readers to join her in loving that splendor. Hayden deftly depicts Morgan in a number of outfits and hairstyles, showing the huge array of expressions girls can embrace. The illustrator also offers a range of skin tones both in Morgan’s family and in her community to emphasize the uplifting message. One particularly funny image shows Morgan experimenting with bright red lipstick, to her mother’s humorous dismay.

A bright and joyful celebration of the kaleidoscope of colors in readers’ families and communities.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2021

ISBN: 979-8-58-776223-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Haphazard but jolly enough for one outing; it probably won’t last for more.

THE CRAYONS' CHRISTMAS

From the Creative Creature Catcher series

A flurry of mail addressed to Duncan’s crayons ushers in the Christmas season in this novelty spinoff of the bestselling The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) and The Day the Crayons Came Home (2015).

Actual cards and letters are tucked into envelopelike pouches pasted to the pages; these are joined in some cases by other ephemera for a package that is likely to invite sudden, intense play followed by loss and/or damage that will render the book a disappointment to reread. That’s probably OK, as in contrast to the clever story that kicked this small series off, this outing has a hastily composed feel that lacks cohesion. The first letter is addressed to Peach from Mom and includes a paper doll of the “naked” (de-wrappered) crayon along with a selection of tabbed changes of clothing that includes a top hat and tails and a bikini top and bottom. Peach’s implied gender fluidity does not mitigate the unfortunate association of peach with skin color established in the first book. The sense of narrative improvisation is cemented with an early page turn that takes the crayons from outdoors snow play to “Feeling…suddenly very Christmas-y, the crayons headed inside.” Readers can unpack a box of punch-out decorations; a recipe for gluten-free Christmas cookies that begins “go to store and buy gluten-free cookies”; a punch-out dreidel (turns out Grey is Jewish); a board game (“six-sided die” not included); and a map of Esteban (aka Pea Green) and Neon Red’s travels with Santa.

Haphazard but jolly enough for one outing; it probably won’t last for more. (Novelty. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51574-6

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.

EXTRA YARN

A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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