Originally published in Japan, this reflective, dreamy tale with its timeless art is a must for the bedtime shelf

READ REVIEW

THE WAY HOME IN THE NIGHT

A fully anthropomorphic mother rabbit carries her sleepy bunny home as the youngster contemplates the comforting sights and sounds of the city at night.

Illuminated windows glow like portals into other worlds, capturing reassuring vignettes on Miyakoshi’s pages. Steam rises around a restaurant chef; bookstore displays are taken in; a TV light flickers, and the scent of pie beckons. When father lovingly tucks his bunny in bed, the heaviness of sleep, the warmth of the blankets, and the gentle night air are so deliciously palpable young readers will be lulled into a soporific state. Through the artist’s use of perspective and environment, she cleverly makes readers feel like observers, much like the bunny narrator. Done in pencil and charcoal on textured paper, this combination suggests the illusion of film grain; in addition, the use of rounded panels offers a cinematic feel, like frames in a moving picture. A mostly monochromatic palette highlights the warmth of the bunny’s home and the evening lights, and Miyakoshi’s use of singular images creates a calming pace.

Originally published in Japan, this reflective, dreamy tale with its timeless art is a must for the bedtime shelf . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-663-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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