Simply sublime.



A lyrical poem fit for any bedtime ritual.

Rice captures the soothing rhythms of the night in an ode to bedtime that will please any toddler. Using what appear to be cut-paper silhouettes on solid and gradient-color backings, Rice fills each page with images of evening repose: ducks napping, deer browsing, a squirrel sleeping, and so on. The silhouettes are touched with buff highlights, giving them shape and suggesting feathers, fur, and a fawn’s spots. In many of the pictures, the image of a clock can be seen with its hands pointing to the late-night/early-morning hours to further suggest the lateness of the day. Often superimposed on tree trunks, the clock takes on many forms—a duck’s home, a birdhouse, a shed, and so on—to better blend into the scenery of the night. The poem centers on a rural family of unknown ethnicity with chickens, sheep, and farming equipment, but urban and suburban children will respond to the story as well based on the easy flow of the rhyme, the titular line acting as a refrain. “A calf in the barn. A sheep in her stall. / A colt casts a shadow on the weathered wall. // A hen warms her eggs. Rooster waits for first light. / And all is quiet at the stroke of goodnight.” The story should also find a place of honor in pajama storytimes in schools, preschools, and libraries.

Simply sublime. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64170-144-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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