Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: The crayon box that talked by Shane DeRolf, illustrated by Michael Letzig

This review was previously published. I have rewritten and edited it.

This is a new board book version of a picture book originally published in the late 90s. I don't know if the board book was changed from the original picture book, but I wasn't impressed.

The "story" is a thinly disguised message about tolerance and appreciated others' differences, but either the plot was cut to fit the board book or there was never much to start with. The crayons don't like each other "but no one knows just why." After they're purchased and used (although they never grow any smaller - magic crayons!) they realize that all together they can make a better picture. The text rhymes, but it's clunky and flat:
"They watched me as a colored,
With red and blue and green,
and black and white and orange,
and every color in between."

 The art had a slick, flat look and was too busy for the smaller format of a board book. The smaller details of the crayons' expressions will be lost on most children and some of the pictures are skewed oddly. I don't know if they were cut to fit the board book framework, or if that's how the art looked originally. The book itself is small, about about 7 inches high and 4 inches wide.

Verdict: The blurb on the back says "Children are never too young to learn about celebrating our differences and cooperating" but I beg to differ. The book is too cluttered, wordy, and abstract for a board book audience in my opinion. Just my opinion though - it's won lots of awards and been used in many campaigns etc. so take my grumpy attitude with a grain of salt.

ISBN: 9780385373036; Published 2013 (board book edition); Review copy provided by Random House; Donated to prize box

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