A deftly upbeat encounter that should go a long way toward quelling any nascent nighttime anxieties.

Far from being frightened, a small child is utterly delighted to find a green, toothy monster under her bed.

It’s Carl the croc who is startled at the appearance of Sophie—a tiny lass with a mop of orange hair and a plush “wild thing” tellingly clutched in her hand—and has to be talked down from the top of the dresser. Wild rumpuses in bedroom and kitchen ensue (“They flip at least a thousand pancakes”), leaving both empty egg cartons just right for turning into a painted toy crocodile and Carl, at least, in real need of a splashy bath. After that, he tucks his bossy new buddy into bed, regales her with tales of past silly pranks until she drifts off to dreamland, and tiptoes away. Along with Sophie’s fearlessness, this genial addition to the populous “bedtime bugaboo” genre features cleanly drawn illustrations that offer neat but comical messes and central figures who sport magnetic personalities, as well as, after those first anxious moments at least, clear signs of mutual affection. Both girl and croc are equally lovable—though the endpapers hint subversively at a less-than-upstanding agenda for Carl, as well as explaining his presence under Sophie’s bed in the first place.

A deftly upbeat encounter that should go a long way toward quelling any nascent nighttime anxieties. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-935954-08-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lemniscaat USA

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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