JUST ONE MORE SLEEP

Charming family fun.

In this latest collaboration from actor and author Curtis and illustrator Cornell, a child finds ways to pass the time.

“It’s just one more sleep” until “I blow out candles on my birthday cake,” the young narrator informs us. But after that wonderful day, the gap-toothed, curly-haired, brown-skinned child will have to wait an entire year for the next birthday. Luckily, there are many other special days to enjoy and anticipate in the meantime. Lilting, rhyming verse accompanied by sprawling, upbeat illustrations follows the unnamed protagonist and a boisterous, multiracial, interfaith family through a year of holidays and events. The child eagerly takes part in everything from dancing in a dragon mask on Chinese New Year and making red heart valentines to finding Easter eggs, listening to the Passover story, lighting Hanukkah candles, opening Christmas presents, and dressing up for Kwanzaa. Finally, it’s New Year! Basking in Mom’s pride, the child has learned patience—and feels quite pleased with that accomplishment. The refrain “just one more sleep”—a common phrase that helps children understand the concept of today and tomorrow—may be slightly confusing here. The book jumps from holiday to holiday, though there are in fact many sleeps between, for instance, the first day of school and Halloween. But no matter: Young readers will know their own special times and relate to this joyful child and loving family.

Charming family fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9780593527047

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

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