Good for sharing one on one, this is a pleasant bedtime story for those who don’t already have enough.

GOOD NIGHT, FOREST

Another riff on Goodnight Moon, this one is set in a forest.

The opening rhyme sets the scene. “Good morning, forest. / Rise and shine! / Good morning, maple, / Oak and pine.” The text welcomes, in turn, an assemblage of forest flora, fauna, and landscape elements to a new day: deer, bird, stream, flowers, cricket, porcupine, ferns, turtle, and skunk. The creatures play until the end of day, when a hush falls over the forest and it’s time to sleep. The illustrations are eye-catching, with darkly saturated colors applied in painterly strokes that extend off of the page. The images appear as if shellacked or polished on the glossy paper, and they gently exaggerate the features of the animals; all have wide, pop eyes (even the cricket), and the porcupine’s quills and beaver’s buck teeth are humorously hyperbolic. The ending, which features an adult and child inside a lit tent reading a book, is a nice touch. “Time to sleep! / All creatures do. / Good night, forest. / Good night, you.” However, although all the ingredients work well enough together, there is little about the book that helps it to rise above the rest and should be considered only in situations where there is an ache for another bedtime book.

Good for sharing one on one, this is a pleasant bedtime story for those who don’t already have enough. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-388-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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