Screamingly fun.

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NO MORE NAPS!

A STORY FOR WHEN YOU'RE WIDE-AWAKE AND DEFINITELY NOT TIRED

Can a book about napping be a lively story? Why, yes. Meet Annalise.

Middle-grade novelist Grabenstein, perhaps best known for the Mr. Lemoncello’s Library series, turns to picture books in this story of a spunky toddler who prefers shrieking to napping. Her weary father pushes her through town in a stroller, hoping it will lull her to sleep. The two discover that the townspeople, one by one, are more than happy to “take” Annalise’s nap in her stead. Everyone stops in their tracks to get some shut-eye while Annalise is “the only one in the whole wide sleepy world who would not fall asleep.” When she’s finally ready to, she can’t; “all the naps had already been taken!” Cue more shouting: “I WANT TO TAKE A NAP!” Grabenstein writes chummily, often directly addressing readers (“Do you know anyone like that?”). The book’s display type plays with font size and color to accentuate Annalise’s wails, and Espinosa fills the retro illustrations, reminiscent of mid-20th-century classics, with funny details, including snoozing pigeons, fish, and ducks. Preschoolers will find the defiant protagonist’s protests a little bit thrilling and 100% funny. Delightfully, the front endpapers feature a large, red “WAAAAAH!”; the closing ones, a small, blue “Shhhh” after the girl has finally, mercifully closed her eyes. Annalise and her family have pale skin; Espinosa depicts a diverse group of townspeople who will gladly take her naps for her.

Screamingly fun. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7128-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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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