Judging from all the childhood insomnia out there, there can never be too many bedtime stories, especially when they model a...



Children who have their own bedrooms must face that moment each night when they feel utterly alone; the time before sleep may seem endless.

This thoughtful young protagonist strikes up a conversation with the moon: “Can we talk? I get lonely down here sometimes. What I want to know is….” His questions run the gamut from the moon’s taste in games, food and animals to its range of vision. Can the smiling countenance see inside people’s homes or into the ocean’s depths? Reflecting on his own situation, the boy wonders if the moon has friends—and, in a kindly gesture, offers to listen anytime. Composed with an abundance of reassuring, rounded shapes and images high on the child-appeal scale (pirates, ice cream cones, playgrounds), Cort’s acrylic scenes contrast the predominately cool, blue nighttime environment with a variety of warm greens punctuated by bursts of orange. Prominent among these is the child’s striped cat, which appears as a playful and comforting presence throughout, and the identically colored tiger who saunters out of the bushes when named as a favorite. The questions Simon has her protagonist pose—by turns spirited, playful and genuinely sweet—signal understanding of and respect for a child’s emotional and intellectual capacities.

Judging from all the childhood insomnia out there, there can never be too many bedtime stories, especially when they model a strategy as successful as this one. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64795-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.


From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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