WHEN MY BABY DREAMS

Not the first book for adults to masquerade as a children’s book, but one of the more interesting.

A picture book inspired by Enersen’s popular blog, which features artistic and whimsical photographs of her daughter, Mila.

The narrative begins, “These are Mila’s dreams.” Each page spread that follows features a photograph of a sleeping Mila with fabrics and household items arranged around her to create a scene intended to represent her dreams and an accompanying explanation. For example, a photograph of Mila in which she sleeps atop a fabric skyscraper and grasps a tiny car in her hand is accompanied by the following text: “When my baby dreams of being big… / she grows tall enough to take over the city.” In the next photo, sleeping Mila is placed on a black background filled with stars made of aluminum foil and a couple of colorful planets. A paper plate behind Mila’s head makes her look like an astronaut. In this dream, she is “gigantic enough to conquer the universe.” It is not surprising that Enersen’s quirky, creative photographs trough a large audience to her blog. The babies and preschoolers, however, for whom this book was presumably designed, will likely find much less appeal in this series of photos of one sleeping baby. The prose serves primarily to transition between photos and is also likely to appeal much more to parents than to their little ones.

Not the first book for adults to masquerade as a children’s book, but one of the more interesting. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-207175-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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