GOODNIGHT, LITTLE DANCER

A good choice for the youngest dancers of all genders.

A pair of siblings dances their way to sleep in this ballet-themed bedtime book.

The brown-skinned duo with curly hair has reached the end of their day. A narrator with a caregiver’s voice tells them, “It’s time for bed now, little dancer,” as they pose, wearing pajamas, in the softly lit living room. They make their way to a bedroom, still prancing and stretching, and say goodnight to their ballet props: ribbons and slippers. The lightly rhyming text tells the two to “practice steps inside your head. // Tomorrow you’ll be on the stage. // But now let’s tuck you into bed.” The children, one with long, voluminous hair (and, oddly, no scarf or wrap), the other with close-cropped hair, lie in twin beds side by side and dream of dancing together. This simple text moves swiftly, with one or two lines per spread, making a short, sweet goodnight story ideal for weary adults to help dance-obsessed young children settle into bed at the end of a long day. The amicable sibling relationship is a pleasant reprieve from feistier depictions. The soft colors are soothing and calming, as are the children’s enduring smiles. In companion title Goodnight, Little Superhero, pale-skinned siblings say goodnight to their capes and other gear. The text employs a similar pattern and voice; the colors are a bit brighter but still suitable for nighttime.

A good choice for the youngest dancers of all genders. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-31004-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

CARRY MY HEART WITH YOU

Lackluster.

A parent and child introduce a way to make daily separations a bit easier.

At school drop-off, a parent rabbit comforts a sad child and hands the little one a heart-shaped object: “I’m giving you my heart to hold / whenever I’m not there.” The heart is meant to remind the child of the parent’s love, celebrate the things the child does well, calm worries, express joy, and watch over the child through the night. The book fails to spell out just how the heart does anything other than serve as a reminder of parental love, however. For instance, “Wave the heart above your head / to sing a happy song.” What’s the connection there? The heart is always in the child’s possession, even when the little bunny is with the parent, contradicting the opening premise that it’s for when the two are apart. Most troublingly, unlike a kissing hand, the wooden keepsake heart that comes with the book could easily be lost; with the statements that it’s the parent’s heart and that the love in the heart will never end, losing the token could be quite upsetting. The artwork features adorable cartoon anthropomorphic animals of various species, two of which use wheelchairs. The font sometimes fills in the centers of the lowercase g, o, a, and letters with hearts, which may cause difficulties for youngsters reading on their own or for those with dyslexia.

Lackluster. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781680102970

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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