A sweet look at becoming comfortable with ourselves, whoever we are.



When Mr. Lion gets invited to a party, Mr. Monkey’s suggestions for what to wear range from sophisticated to downright silly.

This board book about playing dress-up is like a game of paper dolls, with outfits that change with each turn of the page. The cover and all but the last page of the book are die cut with a hole in the shape of Mr. Lion’s face, which peers uncertainly through each picture and every outfit. Excited about Mr. Lion’s invitation, Mr. Monkey suggests, “You’ll have to get dressed up!” Mr. Lion, however, is skeptical. Undeterred, Mr. Monkey pulls several outfits from an unusually eclectic wardrobe. The ensembles appear dignified at first, becoming progressively more ridiculous, until Mr. Monkey is rolling on the floor in stitches. Counting boxer shorts, Mr. Lion models 14 different looks, including suit with top hat, evening gown, clown suit, a tutu, PJ’s, kilt, and bunny suit. Mr. Monkey finally admits, “No…none of those outfits is right, Mr. Lion, it would be best for you to go as…yourself!” The artwork is appealing, and while the beleaguered Mr. Lion’s face remains static throughout, his body and limbs move expressively as he awkwardly models each get-up. The zany outfits should have toddlers howling right along with Mr. Monkey.

A sweet look at becoming comfortable with ourselves, whoever we are. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 979-1-03631-357-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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


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

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A successful offering from a well-matched pair.


A child greets the day and then says goodnight in this circular picture book.

Over the first three double-page spreads, spare verse (based on a song by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) relates the various sights that a boy beholds as he opens his window to the day: “Good Morning to the sun, / Good Morning to the hills, // Good Morning to the chickies and the hen. / Good Morning to the rooster, // Good Morning to the cow, / Good Morning to the piggies in the pen.” Ensuing pages show the boy greeting other creatures, things and places, moving from the pastoral setting of the opening to a city scene. The climax of the text reads (with a bit of a rhythmic misstep) “Good Morning! Good Morning! / To everything in sight! By the time I get through saying Good Morning, it’s time to say… // Good Night,” and then, looking rather forlorn, the child says “Good Night” to everything he’d greeted on prior pages. By the time he snuggles down to sleep, he is smiling as his mother (heretofore unseen amid all of his adventures) stands in his bedroom doorway. Barroux’s whimsical, naïve-style illustrations establish his work, once again, as an ideal match for Ziefert’s verse—see Bunny’s Lessons (2011) and My Dog Thinks I’m a Genius (2011) as other strong collaborations.

A successful offering from a well-matched pair. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-160905374-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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