Make room for this one—with its spot-on characterization, humorous details and wordplay, this stands out even among the...


Schaefer and Morgan have again paired up (Kids Like Us, 2008, etc.), this time bringing readers an emotionally expressive and linguistically playful book about nighttime fears.

BunBun is an exuberant young rabbit who has no problem going to bed. But once he’s there, he hears noises down the hallway. With Boo, his bear, he is initially able to brush aside his fears, but as the noises get closer, he dives under the covers. His overactive imagination envisions the nasty creatures that must be creeping toward him. It might be a “Crusty Dumply Ogre, / with gnarly curly toes,” or it could be a “Grimy Gooey Ghoulie / with a snuffly droozly nose.” BunBun’s reactions mirror those of a small child—hiding under the covers, freezing in fear with heart beating madly. And the noise? Just his little brother come to check out the noises he heard. Courage restored, BunBun is able to act the part of protective big brother. Schaefer masterfully plays with language both in lines that often rhyme and in invented words that could feasibly have come straight from a young child’s imagination. And Morgan’s ink-and-gouache artwork perfectly captures this. Her portrayal of BunBun’s imaginary monsters are just silly enough not to spark fears in readers.

Make room for this one—with its spot-on characterization, humorous details and wordplay, this stands out even among the crowd of similar books. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01241-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...


Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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