IT’S BEDTIME, CUCUY/¡A LA CAMA, CUCUY!

Another bedtime battle is won in this bilingual text featuring the Latin-American bogeyman and his mother, both rendered here as decidedly cute and unfrightening elfin creatures with blue skin and spiky blue hair. Cucuy, the little monster, refuses to go to bed, behaving monstrously with screams and kicks, ugly faces, wiggles and jiggles and every sort of tantrum until mother declares “enough fuss.” The now red-faced Cucuy finally agrees to count sheep and “get just a tiny bit of sleep.” Coombs’s deep, richly colored paintings bring out a typical child’s surroundings (filled with a spirited assortment of monster dolls) and reflect his extreme remonstrations. The loosely rhyming English text is all-too-often forced (“Even in all that craze Mamá is able to put him in his pj’s”); it appears above a serviceable Spanish translation. When bedtime becomes a hideous affair, the outrageously grotesque behavior of one may spark a bit of realistic appreciation for many. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-55885-491-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arte Público

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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Superheroes, and readers, will live happily-ever-after.

THE THREE LITTLE SUPERPIGS AND THE GINGERBREAD MAN

Why have fairy tales lasted so long? Maybe it’s because they change with every teller.

It takes surprisingly little effort to turn the Three Little Pigs into superheroes. The Big Bad Wolf basically started out as a supervillain, with the ability to blow a house down, and the pigs had to perform spectacular feats to outwit him. In this picture book, the wolf, locked in the Happily Never After tower, devises a plot to escape. Using rotten eggs and spicy ginger, he creates the Gingerbread Man, who makes his way to a baking contest where the three pigs and other fairy-tale characters are competing to win the key to the city. The Gingerbread Man grabs the key, and not even superhero pigs are fast enough to catch him, but with their secret weapon—mustard (which one of the pigs also uses to bake cookies)—they save the day. The morals: Evil never triumphs, and mustard cookies are delicious. The book’s charm is in the details. There are splotches of mustard on the cookies featured on the endpapers, and a sly-looking mouse is hiding on many of the pages. The story even manages to include more than a dozen fairy-tale figures without seeming frenzied. Evans’ use of shading is so skillful that it almost seems possible to reach out and touch the characters. Most of the human characters are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superheroes, and readers, will live happily-ever-after. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-68221-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES

A pleasing poem that celebrates babies around the world. Whether from a remote village or an urban dwelling, a tent or the snow, Fox notes that each “of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes.” Repeated in each stanza, the verse establishes an easy rhythm. Oxenbury’s charming illustrations depict infants from a variety of ethnicities wearing clothing that invokes a sense of place. Her pencil drawings, with clean watercolor washes laid in, are sweetly similar to those in her early board books (Clap Hands, 1987, etc.). Each stanza introduces a new pair of babies, and the illustrations cleverly incorporate the children from the previous stanzas onto one page, allowing readers to count not only fingers and toes but also babies. The last stanza switches its focus from two children to one “sweet little child,” and reveals the narrator as that baby’s mother. Little readers will take to the repetition and counting, while parents will be moved by the last spread: a sweet depiction of mother and baby. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206057-2

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2008

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