GOOD NIGHT ENGINES

This little charmer is clearly intended for the vehicle-obsessed toddler. As a young boy plays with his cars, trucks, planes, and trains, the bedtime theme emerges with: “Sunset glowing in the west. / Engine slowing, / wheels at rest.” In savory, rich colors, the most striking of which are the deep plums and cobalt blues, Iwai’s illustrations are meticulous. The settings alternate from realistic, life scenes of, say, a plane landing on a runway (perhaps the boy’s imaginative vision) with that of the boy holding the toy plane aloft. The little tyke’s bedroom is a pleasant jumble of toys that make up the backdrop of his play with blocks, stuffed animals, jacks, and all manner of conveyance. Mortensen has written just enough text to engage the sleepy child while the soothing cadence will help ease the youngster into a contented slumber. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-13537-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2003

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

As The Goodnight Train traverses la-la land, the rhythmic chugging and the cadenced clickety-clacking will eventually lull even the most stalwart child to sleep. So, “Find your sleepers! Grab your teddy.” The train sets forth over hill and dale, puffing and huffing, embraced by somnolent shades of blue and purple. Upward through the tunnel, the train rockets around the curve and toward its destination, choo-chooing all the way as it passes over a flat plain and through a field of sheep. Gradually, the train begins to slow. At last the little locomotive pulls into the depot and its occupants sigh and close their sleepy eyes. The illustrations depict welcoming creatures of all sorts, children and skunks alike. There is bountiful fun to be had in the journey’s creamy hues, painting fantastic hypnagogic images such as a turtle shoveling cinnamon rolls and a mermaid applying night cream. The cheerful and rhyming text paired with the frothy art creates an enchanting trip to dreamland. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-15-205436-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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