An imaginative concept that falls down in execution.

GOOD NIGHT!

In this French import, a cherubic cartoon baby peeks through the die-cut hole at the center of the book to don various personae through the page turns.

On the first spread, readers meet a baby wearing footie pajamas decorated with pink hearts. On subsequent pages, the little one's smiling face is seen as a heart, a fox and a dove, among others. The text invites grown-ups to bid their youngsters good night using endearments appropriate to the scene. A few of the richly colored, probably digitally created images are quite clever; as one page states "Good night, my pearl," the baby's round face appears as one bead on a necklace strand. A smattering of the other endearments and their cartoon depictions may have lost something in translation. English-speaking parents might find calling their child a "shrimp" slightly derogatory, and the appellation "sunshine" seems odd for a bedtime story. The pictures of a black fox, two amorphous brown "dumplings" and a cloud-shaped "sheep" with no neck or head may confuse young children. The companion title, Spoonful!, also incorporates a die cut through almost every page and invites children to feed various animals, family members and characters. In profile this time, the cartoon face that appears through the hole sports a gaping mouth, a bulbous nose and a tuft of black hair. While an inventive idea, the shape of the hole does not allow the child truly to spoon "feed" each character, and some of the transformations via the page turn are strange. Both titles have thinner-than-normal board pages and may not hold up to all the interaction they invite.

An imaginative concept that falls down in execution. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-89314-3

Page Count: 38

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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