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THE WAY HOME IN THE NIGHT

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

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. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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  • New York Times Bestseller


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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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