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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Despite the happy ending, a story meant to serve as reassurance to little ones giving up their own pacifiers comes off as...

NO MORE PACIFIER, DUCK

From the Hello Genius series

It’s time for little Duck to give up his beloved pacifier.

Like many tots, “Duck likes his pacifier,” and the first double-page spread shows him sucking on it happily. Mama Duck, though, believes he’s outgrown it: “Only in bed, sleepyhead,” she admonishes, plucking the pacifier from Duck’s beak as he sits down to a meal. On subsequent pages, she repeats this phrase and pulls away the pacifier as surprised, sad-looking Duck sits in his car seat and reads a book. Adult readers will wonder here—why wouldn’t Mama Duck just put away the pacifier instead of repeatedly snatching it from her wee one throughout the day? Then, surprise, Mama Duck announces that Duck doesn’t need his pacifier at all: “Not even in bed, sleepyhead.” Here, a pleased-looking Mama Duck is pictured with the pacifier hanging from a cord around her neck, out of little Duck’s reach. The following double-page spread features Duck wailing in his crib. Turn the page, and readers see that “soon enough, Duck stops crying…and falls asleep” with no pacifier and no comfort from Mama. When morning comes, he proudly announces: “I’m a BIG DUCK now!”

Despite the happy ending, a story meant to serve as reassurance to little ones giving up their own pacifiers comes off as harsh and decidedly unpleasant. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4795-5793-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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