Though the book ends with the firm instruction to “sleep tight,” its playful interactivity is rousing rather than soporific;...



From the Animal Sounds series

Lightning may not strike twice in the same place, but Long comes close with this companion to Hi! (2015).

Long imagines the sounds 14 different animals might make when being tucked in for the night. In his signature cartoon style, he exaggerates what makes each animal distinct, whether it is the pig’s snout or the monkey's large ears. Each pair's large, round eyes are focused only on each other. Although most of the animals are familiar picture-book residents, some are surprising choices— a ticklish hyena, a humming bee (which, oddly, lives in a wasp’s nest). Only a dog and cat are repeats from Hi! This time the words don't rhyme. Instead the sound each infant makes is repeated, then the grown-ups' sounds, slightly different, are likewise repeated. For example, the chick says, “Cheep cheep.” The mother hen replies, “Cluck cluck.” The words from the adult animals are usually a bit on the forceful side, as if they are gently saying, “Good night, go to sleep NOW.” The lion is the exception—the lion cub says “Roar, roar,” while the father lion purrs. Adults and new talkers will enjoy playing with the onomatopoeia and identifying the animals.

Though the book ends with the firm instruction to “sleep tight,” its playful interactivity is rousing rather than soporific; best not to save it for just before bedtime. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1366-8

Page Count: 20

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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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...


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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Lit with sweetness.


Coco, who loves her gentle friend Bear, is shocked to learn that the other forest animals do not know about his kindness.

Inspired by one of her grandmother’s favorite maxims, Coco, a girl with light brown skin and curly brown hair, works with Bear to “share some kindness [and] bring some light” to the other animals in the forest. Interpreting it literally, the two make cookies (kindness) and lanterns (light) to share with the other animals. They trek through the snow-covered forest to deliver their gifts, but no one trusts Bear enough to accept them. As night begins to fall, Bear and Coco head home with the lanterns and cookies. On the way through the quiet forest, they hear a small voice pleading for help; it’s Baby Deer, stuck in the snow. They help free him, and Bear gives the young one a ride home on his back. When the other animals see both that Baby Deer is safe and that Bear is responsible for this, they begin to recognize all the wonderful things about Bear that they had not noticed before. The episode is weak on backstory—how did Coco and Bear become friends? Why don’t the animals know Bear better by now?—but Stott’s delicately inked and colored illustrations offer beguiling views of lightly anthropomorphized woodland critters that make it easy to move past these stumbling blocks. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

Lit with sweetness. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6238-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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