A zany, rib-tickling bedtime tour de force.

Eschewing sleep, the froggies engage in bizarre nighttime capers.

This unusual bedtime book alerts readers with the bold opening message that “the froggies do NOT want to sleep.” Indeed! Instead, the froggies want to hop. Reasonable. They also want to practice the accordion, ride unicycles, and play dress up! Hmmm? They want to go on long country drives and “joust like knights.” OK. And they want to perform underwater ballet and “tame ferocious beasties”! Really? Pushing the envelope totally, the froggies want to sing opera while being shot from a cannon, fly spaceships, and engage in burping contests with ETs. But they absolutely do not want to sleep…maybe. Beginning with the froggies’ surreptitious exit from bed on the front endpapers, the realistically executed, fantastically conceived illustrations track the froggies’ nocturnal activities from the sublime to the ridiculous in a series of increasingly dramatic double-page spreads. Early images show leggy amphibians tiptoeing across the page before exuberantly hopping frogs jam-pack the spread. Hilarious scenes of frogs playing accordions, spinning on unicycles, dressing up in period costumes, speeding like Mr. Toad in a flashy red roadster, aerially jousting with toilet plungers, performing ballet lifts underwater, riding a submerged alligator (backward), operatically exploding from a cannon, and zipping through galaxies in a spaceship appropriately culminate on the rear endpapers with the exhausted froggies finally crashing into bed.

A zany, rib-tickling bedtime tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-58089-524-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021



A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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