Spots in a Box

Helen Ward. Candlewick/Templar, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7597-4
A guinea fowl who lacks the dense white speckles of his brethren tries to find an acceptable substitute, scrawling out a letter that reads “please send spots.” The wild variety of spots that arrive “in a promising package tied up with string” let Ward exercise her considerable artistic talents as the dewy-eyed fowl contends with spots that are far too large, much too tiny, or “no spots at all” (die-cut holes drive this particular effect home). Ward’s watercolors showcase her signature attention to detail, and foil and glitter accents enliven the pages as the guinea fowl tries out “Spots that lit up, useful only at night.../ and some that were simply too sparkly and bright.” (Librarians beware: some readers will find it impossible to resist drawing the outline of the bird in a spread in which his body is transformed into a scattering of numbered “connect-the-dots spots.”) Ward’s whimsical imaginings and tight-as-a-drum verse supply plenty of entertainment on their own, but a subtle message about difference gives the story some heft, too. Ages 3–7. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/22/2014
Release date: 02/24/2015
Genre: Children's
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