This charming bedtime read-aloud, a German import, assures children that a new day awaits them

READ REVIEW

BEFORE I WAKE UP...

A child dreams of sailing across the sky and sea, accompanied by a favorite stuffed lion.

Together they venture into the night in a bed carried along in a hot air balloon basket suspended from a yellow moon. They travel over a meadow and deep into the ocean, making friends with animals along the way. Author and illustrator Teckentrup owes something to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are in the style of her illustrations as well as the book’s design. In full and partial double-page spreads, the companions float on the seas in a simple sailboat with a triangular sail. The dreamy, sparse text is frequently set opposite the illustrations, surrounded by white space. The story conveys both a sense of adventure and the comfort of a protective companion: “You make me feel safe, / you are always near. / That’s why I am brave, / without any fear….” Mottled, textured collage and mixed media in a gentle, subdued palette propel the story from the dark of night until dawn, the journey echoed in the endpapers. The lovely illustrations on matte paper are an evocative match to the simple prose, drawing readers into the child’s dream. Even the binding of this well-designed book adds to its success, as the large pages fall open with a satisfying sound.

This charming bedtime read-aloud, a German import, assures children that a new day awaits them . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-3-7913-7246-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Prestel

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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