An excellent bedtime read no matter your species.

A STORY THAT GROWS

You don’t have to be human to like a good bedtime story.

Bachelet’s circular tale, originally published in France as Une histoire qui… (“A story that…”), features a slew of different species of parents reading stories to their little ones at bedtime. On the cover, a butterfly parent reads to its caterpillar child, who cuddles in bed with a stuffed panda toy in bed. On the first double-page spread, text reading “A very gentle mom, / a chubby-cheeked child, / a cuddly friend with whiskers… / …a story that grows” accompanies an illustration of a panda mother reading to her panda baby, who clutches a stuffed walrus toy. The next double-page spread features a walrus dad reading to his walrus child, who holds a stuffed stork toy. The text cycles through giraffes, ostriches, snails, bats, dragons, ETs, and backhoes before concluding with a white human child snuggling a stuffed butterfly: “A dad who stretches, / a child snuggled in for the night, / a cuddly friend that comforts… / …a story that is off to sleep.” The author’s bright, smiling watercolor creatures, machines, and people are wide-eyed, colorful, and attractive. In each spread, a fanciful nursery scene appears on verso while opposite, a book is depicted harmoniously and whimsically, with equally playful typography.

An excellent bedtime read no matter your species. (Picture book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5512-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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The small size, a predictable winter adventure, and Boynton’s very toddlerlike character make this a fine stocking stuffer...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, LITTLE POOKIE

Seven years after Little Pookie (2011) first appeared, this popular piglet is finally celebrating Christmas.

“Oh Pookie! Come look! It’s beginning to snow,” says a maternal-looking pig. But where did Pookie go? Past the Christmas tree, to put on a snowsuit of course. Pookie’s ever cheerful mama is willing to go out too. After all, “It’s a magical time to be walking with you.” When she observes, “Our noses are frozen. It’s time to go in,” Pookie protests in typical toddler style: “But I’m not c-c-c-cold!” The next three pages highlight indoor holiday preparations—making paper garlands, baking and decorating cookies. The rhyming text mirrors the spare illustrations. A spidery type that emulates handwriting makes it clear when Pookie is speaking. Then “the doorbell is ringing. / Our family and friends have arrived for the singing.” The second-to-last spread shows Pookie, mama, and six other pigs—and Boynton’s requisite chicken—singing (“Con brio”), “MER-RY CHRIST-MAS! MER-RY CHRIST-MAS! AND A HAP-PY NEW YEAR!” Conveniently, this text is placed beneath the musical notation. Finally Pookie hangs a stocking and goes off to bed without any fuss, anticipating presents on Christmas morning.

The small size, a predictable winter adventure, and Boynton’s very toddlerlike character make this a fine stocking stuffer or an ideal Christmas Eve read to share with other little piggies. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3724-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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