Aptly named, The Everything Book
is a hodgepodge of early learner words, numbers, poems, and concepts. But, without a doubt, the gorgeous illustrations are the real star of the show, created by Denise Fleming by pouring colored cotton fiber through hand-cut stencils. Readers and art appreciators of all ages will want to surround themselves with the delicious, ripe colors. Whether she's writing about traffic lights ("We all must obey them / Even the Queen"), a robin's nest, or the colors of fruit, Fleming imbues her subjects with vivid hues and exquisite shapes. Children will pore over the loosely organized book; the sparse structure allows readers to create their own stories, lingering over Summer, for example (with "summer" as its only text), to count the flies, spy the squirrel, and admire the pair of sunflowers.
Readers can practice the alphabet, count crocodile eggs and ladybugs, make faces, learn about shapes, and play with kitchen "toys": cups, pans, spoons, bags. Towards the end of the book, the theme becomes nighttime-sleepytime, with verses about winking blinking fireflies and bunnies and chicks getting ready for bed. Children will love the big, color-drenched pictures and simple words. Grownups will want to frame the art and hang it all over their house. Fleming's In the Small, Small Pond was a Caldecott Honor Book. (Ages 3 to 6) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Part concept book, part word book and part nursery rhyme anthology, Fleming's (In the Small, Small Pond) vibrant picture-book hodgepodge surely lives up to its title. Exuberant spreads teeming with brightly hued animals, plants, objects and for the first time in Fleming's oeuvre a cast of children, introduce numbers, colors, the alphabet, body parts and seasons. Simple rhymes ("Cock-a-doodle-do!/ Hello! Good day!/ Good morning to you!"), most of them anonymous, are interspersed throughout, like gentle breaks between more learning-oriented pages. Fleming is at the top of her game, depicting a seemingly endless number of bold color combinations using her technique of "painting" with dyed cotton pulp and handmade stencils. Her richly textured compositions beg to be pored over and touched. Fans will delight in seeing familiar elements from many of Fleming's earlier works (In the Tall, Tall Grass; Lunch!; Count!) freshly updated here. And readers young and old will want to accept the challenge of finding the 119 ladybugs that crawl or fly across the pages of this lively outing. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)
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