While it may not make kids excited for bedtime, this book is one they’ll want to read.

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THE LITTLE GIRL WHO DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO BED

Engledow, known online as the “World’s Best Father,” presents a bedtime book illustrated with his signature, humorous, digitally manipulated, composite photographs.

The particular white, blonde little girl will be familiar as Engledow’s daughter to those who’ve followed him online. She resists going to bed because she’s certain her parents stay up having fun after she’s asleep. That resistance is exemplified with various scenarios certain to be familiar to readers—she’s hungry, she wants another story, etc.—but the understated text works with illustrations that amplify its humor. When she’s hungry, for example, she’s depicted eating a massive turkey drumstick while clutching a head of broccoli and sitting in bed before a huge slice of watermelon. Then she catches her parents “doing boring grown-up stuff” after her bedtime, and her father tells her to count herself to sleep. This backfires, as she stays up until dawn not only counting, but creating a range of absurd and wonderful things in her room. Her lost sleep makes her miss the next day’s fun at a party, and when she decides to get a good night’s sleep to avoid missing out on the next day, the story’s resolution is saved from heavy-handedness by a clever twist on the final page.

While it may not make kids excited for bedtime, this book is one they’ll want to read. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-242537-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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