BENNY AND PENNY

JUST PRETEND

In this graphic mini-novel, a mouse in pirate dress fends off the overtures of his persistent little sister (garbed as a princess), then turns out to be more of a wuss than she is when it comes to bugs. Launching an easy-reader series with this tried-and-true narrative arc, this episode features two very young-looking sibs moving through an idyllic outdoorsy setting and, after a series of tiffs and temporary setbacks, sharing a make-up hug before embarking together on an imagined pirate adventure. Framed in well-separated panels of diverse shape, the art incorporates “plewds,” “briffits” and other visual conventions from comics, along with a mix of dialogue balloons and boxed narrative snippets. Emergent readers should have no trouble following along—or (except perhaps for only children) identifying with the situation. (Easy reader. 5-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-9799238-0-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: RAW Junior/TOON Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2008

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SLEEPY BEARS

An enchanting tale from Fox (Boo to a Goose, 1998, etc.), about a mother bear readying her six little cubs for their long winter snooze. With the onset of cooler weather, Mother Bear lures her bustling offspring into bed with the promise of one final bedtime rhyme for each sibling. With her cubs tucked in around her, Mother Bear recites lullaby poems that are as unique as the little one she is addressing. She serenades her tots with tales of swashbuckling pirates, daring trapeze artists, regal queens, and indulgent sultans. Fox’s honeyed verses resonate with a mother’s love and consummate understanding of her child’s individualism. “Moonbeams touch your precious face/And stars float by with gentle grace.” Argent’s amber-hued illustrations tenderly capture the cozy comfort of the bear family as they snuggle into bed by candlelight, while the more vividly colored pictures reflect the dream world Mother Bear creates. A bewitching collection of sleepy time rhymes. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202016-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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THE BIGGEST BED IN THE WORLD

Overcrowding in the parental sack gets humorous treatment, if an unlikely ending, in this quest for a good night’s sleep. When Ben is just a baby, he is a welcome presence in bed with his mother and father, but babies grow. When Billy arrives, the father buys himself a bigger bed; when the twins arrive, he must make a larger bed himself, large enough for the triplets who come along shortly thereafter. The bed is so colossal, and its citizenry so vast, that it takes on a life of its own. The father commands the mob to disband, ordering them to sleep in a great tiered bunk-bed system he constructs, and gets a simple double for himself and his wife. Readers won’t be surprised when he can’t sleep until the gang returns, packed in like sardines. This good-hearted tribute strikes many familiar notes, as do the spray of feet and arms akimbo depicted by Langley. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-028687-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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