This book makes the most of its dual audience.

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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Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end.

BYE-BYE BINKY

From the Big Kid Power series

This book seeks to use the power of persuasion to vanquish that most formidable of opponents: toddlers.

In this entry in the Big Kid Power series, a little black girl makes no bones about the fact that pacifiers (or “binkies”) are strictly baby territory. When she was little she needed one, but that was then. Whether she’s tired, sad, or hungry, there are other ways of being comforted: hugs and polite requests, for instance. After she gives her binky to a baby and bids it a very clear goodbye, the book ends with a triumphant, “I’M A BIG KID!” Using a striking color combination of orange, brown, and black, van Lieshout keeps her pages bold and bright, complementing the simple vocabulary. Such declarations as, “Do I still have a binky? // NO, BIG KIDS DON’T NEED A BINKY. / NOPE!” leave scant wiggle room for argument. In her author’s note at the end, van Lieshout says that after speaking to many parents about how they helped their kids bid their pacifiers adieu, “many of them had in common…a ritual of some sort.” The ritual here seems to be giving the pacifier away, though it may be missed by many readers. Companion title I Use the Potty uses a similar approach, with a proud, white boy as its guide.

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3536-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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A helpful way to prepare toddlers for a visit to the doctor with a character who’s easy to love.

LEO GETS A CHECKUP

From the Lola & Leo series

In this episode in the life of toddler Leo, younger brother to Lola (Lola Reads to Leo, 2012, etc.), his parents take him to the doctor’s office for a checkup.

Leo, a brown boy with tightly curled hair, dressed in a onesie and holding onto a table, “is a big boy now.” His mother and father, who are exactly the same shade of brown, are in the background as Leo feeds himself, plays ball, sings, and dances. When it is time to go, he “puts his toys away” and gets “his blankie and Mister Seahorse.” Daddy packs a bag and brings him to the clinic, where Leo sits on the floor playing with Mister Seahorse while they wait for their turn. (This doctor evidently has a separate well-child waiting room, as every soul in the diverse gathering is smiling happily—there’s not a runny nose in sight.) When it is Leo’s turn, he shows his doctor, a white woman, “what he can do now.” He gets a sticker and a book and gets checked all over. He even continues smiling while he gets his shot, which “will keep him healthy.” The rounded features and shining, rosy cheeks of the invariably smiling characters make for a pleasant trip with Leo through his safe and welcoming world.

A helpful way to prepare toddlers for a visit to the doctor with a character who’s easy to love. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-891-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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