LUCY CAN'T SLEEP

Restless, sleepless Lucy decides to climb out of bed and wander through her hushed house.

Meandering rhyme bobs up and down in this nocturnal tale, rocking readers with its subtle irregularity and soft tonality. It drifts as Lucy drifts, around her house, into closets and the fridge, onto the porch, back upstairs and, finally, into bed. Dusky blues, purples and pinks establish a muted nighttime world, one through which Lucy perambulates quite comfortably. Children who fear separation and isolation at bedtime might find eye-opening solace in Lucy’s soothing ramble. Quiet solitary play (dressing-up, snacking, listening to far-off music outside, petting the family pup) suddenly seems exactly the way to find peace and slumber. Being alone in cozy darkness ain’t so bad! Lucy’s pleasantly blank, flat face, her wide-set dot eyes and simple u-shaped smile encourage children to identify with her, easily swapping their own experiences, their own faces, with hers. Schwartz’s deceptively simple paintings and line-work deliver enough domestic details (a coiled hose, a stray doll, dirty laundry, scattered bath toys) and slightly skewed perspectives to keep readers engaged, looking into every corner of the family home (just like the nomadic Lucy).

A bedtime book with sweetly anarchic undertones (why stay in bed?), in which verse and artwork lull and soothe to soporific effect. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59643-543-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Overall, a delightful collection—priced so that it’s easy to buy several to give as gifts.

MY WONDERFUL NURSERY RHYME COLLECTION

Looking for an attractive compendium of nursery rhymes, songs, games, and lullabies all in one place? These 192 pages will deliver the goods, and then some.

The one-page introduction emphasizes the importance of nursery rhymes in the lives of young children: they engage the imagination, develop skills, and foster a love of reading and the spoken word. The contents are organized into six categories that bundle together songs, action rhymes, rhymes about animals, games, counting rhymes, and lullabies. The rhymes are set on full pages or double-page spreads and illustrated with an overall retro look in a mix of styles and media that incorporates thumbprints, collage, cut paper, childlike cartoons, dramatic use of display type, and more. “I’m a Little Teapot” features smiling faces on teapot and cup and a palette of pink, red, and teal, while “Old MacDonald” is rendered in a folk-art style that pops with bright yellows, reds, and greens. Instructions for the action rhymes and the games appear in teeny tiny print at the end of each respective chapter. The die-cut board cover is a plus, as it will stand up to repeated readings. Though each rhyme is illustrated differently, unfortunately and strangely, there is no credit or acknowledgement of the artists. While some of the graphic settings are so overdesigned they are difficult to read, there are so many rhymes that it’s easy enough to skip several and still feel sated.

Overall, a delightful collection—priced so that it’s easy to buy several to give as gifts. (Nursery rhymes. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62686-683-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more