Unabashedly artsy and sure to enjoy a long stay on the read-again shelf.


From the I Like To Read series

In this seek-and-find story aimed at children beginning their reading journey, readers follow a young boy and his dog as they search for naughty, elusive puppies.

An artistic boy who is the namesake of Britain’s famous Tate art gallery leaves home and walks to a museum with his rainbow-hued poodle, Pup, in tow. As they enter the museum, Pup notices five poodle pups, each a different color, trailing them. Once inside, the little whelps promptly blend into the elaborate exhibits. While Pup relentlessly searches for them with binoculars, Tate draws dinosaurs, planets, and butterflies in his sketchbook. Each time he draws, the text challenges readers to find the hidden pups in his crowded artwork. On the way home, Pup is gloomy, uncertain as to the puppies’ fates. Children and adults alike will smile at the happy ending. This leveled reader uses predictable and repetitive text with sight words, but there is just enough variety in the sentences to support the amusing narrative. The illustrations, created with black gesso, ink, graphite, colored pencil, and watercolor, are the real centerpiece. Kirsch is just as adept at rendering the colorful museum exhibits as the grayscale, childlike drawings in Tate’s sketchbook. Young readers will find the fun Where’s Waldo?–element of this story hard to resist. Tate and the only other human character, a museum docent, are both White.

Unabashedly artsy and sure to enjoy a long stay on the read-again shelf. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4605-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a...


Reynolds returns to a favorite topic—creative self-expression—with characteristic skill in a companion title to The Dot (2003) and Ish (2004).

Marisol is “an artist through and through. So when her teacher told her class they were going to paint a mural…, Marisol couldn’t wait to begin.” As each classmate claims a part of the picture to paint, Marisol declares she will “paint the sky.” But she soon discovers there is no blue paint and wonders what she will do without the vital color. Up to this point, the author uses color sparingly—to accent a poster or painting of Marisol’s or to highlight the paint jars on a desk. During her bus ride home, Marisol wonders what to do and stares out the window. The next spread reveals a vibrant departure from the gray tones of the previous pages. Reds, oranges, lemon yellows and golds streak across the sunset sky. Marisol notices the sky continuing to change in a rainbow of colors…except blue. After awakening from a colorful dream to a gray rainy day, Marisol smiles. With a fervent mixing of paints, she creates a beautiful swirling sky that she describes as “sky color.” Fans of Reynolds will enjoy the succinct language enhanced by illustrations in pen, ink, watercolor, gouache and tea.

Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a problem on one’s own—creatively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2345-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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