Searchers of progressive muscle-relaxation books for children will find this choice interesting, but readers after robot...

BUDDY'S BEDTIME BATTERY

Imagination and progressive relaxation are the key to powering down little Buddy, the boy “robot.”

With spiky blond hair and chubby pink cheeks, Buddy looks in the mirror at his new robot pajamas and proclaims, “BEEP! My battery is on! I can walk and talk!” As bedtime approaches, Robo-Mom turns on her techno-voice and orders Ro-Buddy to turn on his “jumping button” until his “turbo charger” is worn out. The science-fiction dialogue continues through a trip to the family bathroom for a visit to the “space station potty.” When Robo-Dad commands, “Time to activate your cuddle pod,” the toddler climbs into bed while his parents start to “power down” each part of Buddy’s very active body. “Ro-Buddy, please turn off your legs. BEEP! BEEP! Be still, legs. Be still.” The techno-themed scenery and language are kept to a minimum, offering just enough to give it an imaginative flavor; the center of the book focuses on relaxation. With gentle and methodical repetition, each wiggly part is powered down and ordered to be still: legs, bottom, belly, arms, and face. Bowers’ illustrations have a laser focus on Buddy, capturing the active hands and feet of a toddler playing make-believe. Overall, the storyline and pictures are a typical parenting go-to-bed book rather than one for true robot fans.

Searchers of progressive muscle-relaxation books for children will find this choice interesting, but readers after robot fare should look elsewhere. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-51339-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Sure to invite cries of “Again!” (Picture book. 2-4)

QUIET!

From the Child's Play Library series

This picture book’s title belies its gently noisy contents.

The first-person text follows a child with light-brown skin and a mop of dark curly hair who takes readers throughout the family home and listens to all of the sounds therein. Neither text nor art provides a definite gender designation for the toddler, though a father and baby brother who share the same hair color and texture are identified as male. Race is similarly left ambiguous, with skin tones varying from page to page and no clear statement to specify race or ethnicity in the text. What is clear is that this child is comfortable and secure in Dad’s loving care and with the gentle companionship of a pet dog and cat in addition to the baby brother. Brightly colored interior scenes, together with occasional spreads with a minimal background that set objects and characters against the white of the page, invite readers to observe the many objects throughout the comfortable, spacious home, which are accompanied by sound effects. “Drip” goes a faucet, “Tingaling” rings a cat toy, “La La La La” sings Dad in a lullaby. And at book’s end, the titular quiet descends as the child drifts off to sleep. Throughout, appealing illustrations work with conversational, onomatopoeic text to engage readers in the tradition of historical “here and now” picture books.

Sure to invite cries of “Again!” (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84643-887-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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HOP ALONG BOO, TIME FOR BED

A lullaby sends Belle and her stuffed bunny, Boo, off to sleep.

The book opens with the sentient toy Boo stargazing from a treehouse window while Belle, a white girl with a brown bob, sings a lullaby. She’s in pajamas and ready for bed herself. It becomes unclear whether the ensuing text is in her voice or an omniscient narrator’s as she and Boo make their way to dreamland though a variety of settings evoked by the rhyming verses. Succeeding double-page spreads show scenes of a diverse group of children parading off to bed, with Belle and Boo always present. Some settings in this British import show a mismatch between text and art (“cowboys way out on the prairie” are in a cactus-studded desert), while others disappointingly reinforce stereotypes: a scene about dancers seems to omit all boy characters except for a single blond, white boy at center stage while nine girls stand in the wings, and then tipis show up in a nighttime scene with the children reading around a campfire surrounded by tents of many sorts. There’s no call from the text for their inclusion nor any cultural specificity that suggests a Plains Indian presence or context, which problematically renders the structures playthings verging on fantastic props. Throughout, the rhyming text seems a bit drawn-out, and illustrations verge on the saccharine.

A snooze. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-40833-708-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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