A bedtime veggie feast for the eyes and ears.

GOODNIGHT, VEGGIES

Even veggies get tired, it seems.

Illustrator OHora’s adorable anthropomorphic veggies star in this bedtime ramble. The illustrations, appropriately created with 100% vegetarian paper and acrylic paint, portray veggies in brilliant realistic colors with thick, black-line details that pop against a pale sky or textured brown earth. A pink-segmented worm guide with a rakish hat and one sock and sneaker winds its way through an urban rooftop community garden as day ends, visiting every veggie preparing for bed or “snoozing, / beneath the moon so bright, // for nothing’s more exhausting / than growing day and night.” In Murray’s playful rhyming text, “tuckered-out tomatoes” hum lullabies, cauliflowers cuddle, “beets are / simply beat,” and “celery is snoring / as sunset disappears.” With just two to nine words per page, the story makes for quick reading, but its steady rhythm, whimsical rhymes, abundant alliteration, and hand-lettered sleep-appropriate sounds to share like “zzzzz” and “snore! snore!” extend the read-aloud experience. The illustrations are equally charming, smiling faces on most of the vegetables matching the worm’s grin. One rhubarb stalk improbably holds a book, reading aloud to some broccoli. The eggplants are revealed to have expansive dreams! Familiar garden creatures also hide in plain sight on most garden spreads. The human gardener, seen tangentially at the beginning of the story, has brown skin.

A bedtime veggie feast for the eyes and ears. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-86683-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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