Hopefully readers’ own flocks are either livelier or more conducive to sleep; this toad’s will do in the meantime.

NOT ALL SHEEP ARE BORING!

In former Saturday Night Live cast member Moynihan’s picture-book debut, a toad narrator fighting sleep introduces readers to all the exciting sheep they know.

People count sheep in order to fall asleep, ergo sheep are boring. But the toad, who sports a green striped shirt and black shorts on stick-thin limbs and has an iron bedstead in the sheep’s field, wants to prove otherwise. One by one, the toad introduces sheep like Alice, who has both a jet pack and a helmet (Alice is both “smart AND cool”), Julie, who loves dancing   and coffee, and Mike H., who “likes to eat pickles while sitting in a big wet boot.” Gary, who doesn’t know what pasta is, is just plain weird, but weird isn’t boring. The parade of sheep gradually gets less and less cool, from Dan, who requires extra exclamation marks to seem hipper, to Katie, who has never actually pranced on the moon, and finally to Steve. Steve is a sheep in a tan vest and headphones using a metal detector in the field. And Steve IS boring, but “that doesn’t mean…that ALL…sheep…are…NOT…ALL…SHEEP…ARE…Zzzzzzz.” Rowan-Zoch’s digital illustrations keep the details simple to focus on the droll sheep, plain white or the bright green of the pasture serving as backgrounds. Still, readers may have different ideas as to which sheep are boring…and may fall asleep long before they reach Steve. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hopefully readers’ own flocks are either livelier or more conducive to sleep; this toad’s will do in the meantime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-40703-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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