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ON A SUMMER NIGHT

Spare, rhythmic, luminous…nighty night.

What is it that wakes up a child, a house cat, and other sleepers on a hot summer night?

There’s a subtle clue to the cause in Pak’s dim, serene scenes as a brown-skinned child, limned in the thinnest hint of golden light, rises from bed and heads to the backyard to walk in dew-flecked grass, to feel the warm dirt against bare feet, and to gaze up at the night sky. Meanwhile a cat follows along, a small dog barks across the way, a rabbit peeks out from behind a bush—and opposite each scene, we see a page filled with a dark grayish-brown block of color that retreats as a pale wedge of color slowly expands. At last the sleepers all go back to their beds, a cloud passes in the sky, and the conundrum’s answer washes in: “Bright, bright! / The light crosses the table, / climbs the stairs, / smooths the sheets / on your bed. / Mysterious, golden, / and round.” The short, deliberate phrases of Hopkinson’s verse and the simple illustrations with their subdued overall lighting combine to slow the nocturnal episode down to a properly and irresistibly snoozy pace.

Spare, rhythmic, luminous…nighty night. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

ISBN: 9781797200132

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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DIGGERSAURS

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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ONE FAMILY

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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