This book makes the most of its dual audience.

READ REVIEW

OLIVE THE SHEEP CAN'T SLEEP

A bedtime book with parenting tips to help kids get the sleep they need.

This handsomely designed Portuguese import features the adorable, fluffy sheep Olive, whose mother helps her overcome sleeplessness after a long day of play. A frontmatter “Note for Grown-Ups” introduces the book’s reliance on neuroscience research to help improve children’s sleeping habits, and backmatter “Bedtime Tips” offer an overview of the ideas introduced in the book proper. These same tips are embedded in Olive’s story as her mother finds different ways to soothe her little lamb and help her ready her body and mind for rest with: a bath, deep breathing, cuddling, warm milk, soothing imagery, and so on. The somewhat flat aesthetic of Silva’s digital illustrations doesn’t undermine their cuddly appeal, since the forms are rounded and lines curved. Movement from a bright palette to a more subdued one as Olive settles in for the night provides a logical, calming visual shift for sleepy readers. While none of the advice reads as revolutionary, having it integrated into a story could aid children in calming themselves at bedtime while affirming caregivers’ nurturing efforts to support them. It’s as purposive as The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep but both gentler and more artful.

This book makes the most of its dual audience. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-838-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A playful, pull-the-tab potty-training book that’s reassuring, too.

POTTY TIME!

From the Pull and Play series

Storytime meets potty time in this board book with movable parts.

This French import features a different pair of anthropomorphic animals on each spread. One is a parent (Mommy or Daddy) and the other a child of the same species who is learning to use the potty. Instead of letting page turns show each child’s experience, a tab pulls out on each recto to reveal a changed scene. For example, at first Little Crocodile is not ready to try to use the potty, and Daddy doesn’t rush him, but he makes sure Little Crocodile knows that the potty is ready when he is. Then pull the tab, and Little Crocodile is happily sitting on the potty, with his teddy nearby on another one. Subsequent pages show other animal children who: wear underwear instead of diapers; have an accident; don’t need to go; and need help with their clothes. Peeing and pooping on the potty are both addressed, too. The book concludes with all of the animals getting ready for a nap. The line “A clean diaper, a teddy, a kiss, and it’s off to bed!” provides reassurance that learning to use the potty is a process that happens over time. The big-eyed, rounded characters in the pictures reinforce the text’s gentle, encouraging tone, and uncluttered backgrounds allow focus to remain on the characters.

A playful, pull-the-tab potty-training book that’s reassuring, too. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-74599-547-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility.

CALLING DR. ZAZA

Make room, Doc McStuffins! Another young brown-skinned physician has arrived to attend to every ailment.

Dr. Zaza, who wears a pink-and-white–checked dress and an apron with a red cross on it, looks out at readers from the cover as she checks the heartbeat of a brightly colored, variegated-patterned stuffed rabbit—one of the many stuffed patients she takes care of throughout the book. Dr. Zaza checks Rosie the koala bear’s earache, Bobby the rabbit’s heartbeat, George the giraffe’s sore throat, Pinkie the bunny’s temperature, and Mo the snake’s scratch. When Mo requires a bandage, so does everyone else. And Dr. Zaza delivers. The protagonist’s deep brown skin and afro-puff hairdo offer a mirror for many readers of color and a window for others while also emphasizing that imaginative play around STEM professions should be the purview of children from every background. And even though Dr. Zaza cares only for stuffed animals thus far, her competence and willingness to help both suggest that medicine will likely be a good fit for her. The deeply-saturated, single-color backgrounds establish a warm and inviting mood for Dr. Zaza’s work, who seems more than content to help. Companion title Celebrate with Zaza finds Zaza in a more traditionally feminine role, coordinating Rosie’s birthday party.

A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-375-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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