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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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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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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