LEO, SLEEP TIGHT!

From the Leo Can! series

A lovely bedtime read.

A baby gets ready for bed.

After a play-filled day, it’s time for Leo to wind down and go to sleep. He drinks warm milk, takes a bath, snuggles up with his parents to hear a story, and dozes off. McQuinn’s text is appropriate for young toddlers, with just a few words per page. The descriptions are short and make use of alliteration, while Hearson’s soft, warm illustrations exude a feeling of comfort, from the delicate bathtub bubbles to the fleecy snuggle of Leo’s pajamas. What sets the artwork apart is how it makes an ordinary experience feel like the precious, magical time that it is. The family’s love and trust for one another are evident as they cuddle together while reading; in one image, a parent holds Leo tenderly, and in another, the other parent draws him close. All of the steps in this bedtime routine are reassuring, and Leo looks content throughout; this is a helpful read to get little ones ready—and even eager—for bedtime. Leo and his parents present as Black. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lovely bedtime read. (Board book. 0-2)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-62354-338-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

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