A light read that will make bedtime playful—and perhaps more alluring—for young readers.

READ REVIEW

DON'T BLINK!

Even before the title page, the book presents readers with a challenge: “DON’T BLINK!”

The narrator—personified as a bigheaded gray owl—explains the challenge at the very beginning of this picture book: if (child) readers can avoid getting to the end of the book, then they can avoid bedtime. There is, unfortunately, one caveat. Each time readers blink, they have to turn the page. The narrator of this interactive picture book comes up with several plans to help readers avoid blinking and, consequently, turning the page. These suggestions range from parsing optical illusions and dizzying spirals to staring “at the person next to you” and squinting. It is ironic that each new suggestion occurs on a new page, steadily leading readers toward the end of the picture book. In one particularly clever moment, a flurry of blinks takes readers from Page 23 to Page 46 in one turn. As the implied readers get sleepier and sleepier, the owl narrator subtly modifies the narrative by suggesting that readers first try shutting one eye, then both eyes—so long as they don’t fall asleep!—in order to avoid turning the page. Rosenthal and Roberts’ innovative picture book, with its purportedly helpful text and solid images in mostly black, white, and gray, gently prepares young readers to sleep even as it seemingly gives children the option of staying awake.

A light read that will make bedtime playful—and perhaps more alluring—for young readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-385-39187-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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