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A visual bedtime treat.

Fairy-tale and nursery-rhyme characters help young children go to sleep in this beautiful bedtime book.

In simple rhyming verse Arena bids good night to a host of well-known characters: “Sleep tight, / Snow White. / Seven dwarves / say good night”; “Rest your head, / Little Red. / Forget the Wolf. / It’s time for bed.” Some of the rhymes have a slight tongue-in-cheek bent, as in: “Don’t rough it, / Little Miss Muffet. / Fluff a pillow— / chuck the tuffet!” And one rhyme may raise the eyebrows of feminist readers: “Want a fella, / Cinderella? / Eight hours’ sleep / will make you bella.” In all, 15 different characters make an appearance; most are female except for Prince Charming, Little Boy Blue, who make solo appearances, and Hansel, Jack, and Beast, who appear with Gretel, Jill, and Beauty, respectively. Each character or character duo is given a full two-page spread, illustrated in a gloriously exuberant style with an equally vibrant palette by Alvarez. The characters each sport different hair and skin colors in a range of hues. If little ones are not yet familiar with the fairy tales and nursery rhymes alluded to, use this as an excuse to introduce them to what could be called a cultural common language. Pair this with Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s classic Each Peach Pear Plum (1978) for a multiracial update.

A visual bedtime treat. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93713-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Hard-to-find numbers make this counting book one to skip.

Four-line poems introduce the numbers zero to nine opposite stylized, colorful mixed-media illustrations that incorporate them.

The relevant numeral is printed clearly over each poem and worked into the pictures, with dotted blue lines to help readers find them. This device sometimes works against itself. For example, the poem headed “3” reads: “Curve out and back in— / Do it once, then repeat: / A three is red pepper / On pizza. Let’s eat!” The poem is inviting, but the red pepper 3’s on the pizza slices opposite are obscured by the dotted blue lines superimposed on them. There are also three people to count and three tuning pegs on the banjo one kid plays. Those elements of the illustration are clear enough, but locating the numeral can be hard. Most pictures share this difficulty, although some, like the two balls of the snowman representing 8, are easier to spot. (Eight children play around the snowman, and there are eight pieces of coal marking its features.) The pictures include people with varying skin tones. In acknowledgment of the difficulty of the concept, a concluding double-page spread with number shapes incorporated into the composition is followed by an identical spread with the number shapes circled for readers to confirm their guesses. The rear endpapers offer each numeral with a corresponding number of thumbnails from the appropriate earlier spread for extra practice.

Hard-to-find numbers make this counting book one to skip. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4321-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A sweet first poetry collection takes young readers through the seasons.

Poems with kid appeal.

In the opening, titular poem, the main character declares that she is 5 years old. The poems that follow encompass the four seasons and explore topics that are meaningful to the age group, such as art projects, gardening with Mom, taking care of a pet, and more. The poems are accompanied by vivid illustrations to bring the symbolic language to life. Mora makes use of alliteration, onomatopoeia, and refrain to keep verses interesting. She reminds readers in the author’s note that not all poems rhyme, and she demonstrates this with a compilation of poems that largely don’t but still provide satisfying read-aloud potential. Each poem is a snapshot of what feels most important to a kindergarten-age child, including the death of a friend’s pet snail. As the poems continue, the passage of time is indicated with the lengthening of the protagonist’s hair, and the collection ends with a sixth birthday party illustration and poem. A handful of Spanish words and phrases appear in several poems, including one titled “Speaking Spanish,” in which the family travels to Mexico, but it is not a bilingual book. The main character, modeled on Mora’s granddaughter, has peach skin with blond hair and brown eyes. Other characters appear to have light brown or white skin and brown hair and eyes.

A sweet first poetry collection takes young readers through the seasons. (Picture book/poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64379-085-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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