It won't rewrite the book on bedtime, but it will make some older readers envious of Mother Bear's sanguine, calming...

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ARE YOU SURE, MOTHER BEAR?

Bears, snow, and anticipation for a very long winter's slumber figure into this bedtime book with a bittersweet twist.

Little Miss Bear, a cub, can't sleep, but it's not the usual childhood anxieties. Mother Bear's little one can't catch a wink because she's afraid everything will have changed when she wakes from hibernation. Instead of simply soothing her cub, Mother Bear takes her for one last roll in the snow before covering her face with kisses and tucking her in. "And when we wake up, the stars will be bright," Mother Bear tells her. "The moon will be round. The hills will be grassy. And we'll be right here, in our very own place, together." Veteran children's author Hest wisely understands it's not just the cuddles that bring rest, but a parent's reassurances that sleep won't bring chaos and disorder, even one as long as winter. Tobia employs cozy, soothing hues for her anthropomorphic bear characters, who are warm and safe in their mountain chalet against the more mysterious, dense backgrounds of the woods outside. This is the rare children's book that is as reassuring as it is sweet.

It won't rewrite the book on bedtime, but it will make some older readers envious of Mother Bear's sanguine, calming attitude toward the passing of the seasons. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7207-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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