While construction-equipment bedtime books have become a genre in and of themselves, there’s still room for one more...

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BEDTIME FOR LITTLE BULLDOZER

You can lead a bulldozer to bed, but you can’t make him sleep.

Seemingly acquiescent, Little Bulldozer is ready to be put down for the night by his human mom and dad. But even after a bath and tooth-brushing, sleep eludes him. In a series of actions that will be familiar to caregivers everywhere, Little Bulldozer thumps around his room, reads a book (The Little Engine that Could) too loudly to himself, and even attempts a failed stealth mission down the stairs to see what his parents are up to. Only when he slips into his older sisters’ room (a steamroller and excavator, respectively) does sleep finally overtake the restless little machine. With its tiny human parents/enormous inhuman children dynamic, the book owes more than a passing nod to Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs series. But if Broach’s tale is by no means original it nevertheless remains soothing in its familiarity. Done in pencil and Adobe Photoshop art, the accompanying illustrations are sweetly humorous. They even contain the occasional oddball detail, such as background family portraits showing ancestors with old-timey car heads. Jackson’s art also plays up the inherent ridiculous logistics of an inside bulldozer’s life, such as how he would act on a spring mattress or how caterpillar treads might tiptoe. Little Bulldozer’s parents have brown skin and black hair.

While construction-equipment bedtime books have become a genre in and of themselves, there’s still room for one more good-hearted tale of antsy, agitated equipment. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-10928-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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