A perfect bedtime selection for eye-catching, vibrantly colorful dreams.

A peek into the busy Land of Nod.

As the day winds down, a child with beige skin and dark hair gathers toys and brings three cuddly rabbits to bed, tucked beneath the covers. The child’s parent says good night and tucks the little one in. Maruno narrates in flawless and immersive rhyming verse as the toys come to life and repair and renew the world for the coming day. “Once you close your tired eyes, / It’s time to dust the butterflies.” An inquisitive cat appears on almost every spread, expressing curiosity and supervising various activities, including mending clouds, painting flowers, restitching the sunny sky to the green farmland, and embroidering the Milky Way into the dark night sky. Sato uses materials such as silk, paper, and textiles to infuse each spread with tangible, three-dimensional textures and depth. Readers will linger over each tiny, essential detail—nothing is extraneous. Even the perspectives shift and change; the child shrinks and grows as they travel through this task-filled dream world, adding to the dramatic tension. Like the materials on many of the spreads, the text and art are expertly stitched together, each visible and impactful on their own and interwoven into a bewitching whole.

A perfect bedtime selection for eye-catching, vibrantly colorful dreams. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-77278-267-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022


If Black Lives Matter, they deserve more specificity than this.

A lushly illustrated picture book with a troubling message.

Little Lala walks with her father after his successful day of fishing. When Mama calls her home for bed, a host of “good night”s delays her: to the bird, the monkey, and even the rock. As Lala wanders through her village in the darkening twilight, readers appreciate its expansive beauty and Lala’s simple joys. Although it’s been artfully written and richly illustrated by an award-winning author of many multicultural stories, this book has problems that overshadow its beauty. “African veld” sets the story in southern Africa, but its vague locale encourages Americans to think that distinctions among African countries don’t matter. Lala wears braids or locks that stick straight up, recalling the 19th-century pickaninny, and her inconsistent skin color ranges from deep ebony like her father’s to light brown. Shadows may cause some of these differences, but if it weren’t for her identifiable hair, readers might wonder if the same child wanders from page to page. Perhaps most striking of all is Lala’s bedtime story: not an African tale but an American classic. While this might evoke nostalgia in some readers, it also suggests that southern Africa has no comparably great bedtime books for Lala, perhaps in part because American children’s literature dominates the world market.

If Black Lives Matter, they deserve more specificity than this. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-17384-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016


We’ll say it: a toothsome experience.

Flash those pearly whites!

Renowned poet Florian’s jaunty rhymes suggest that a hygiene ritual many children consider bothersome can be “fun! fun! fun!” Each spread features lively scenes showing kids demonstrating tooth- and mouth-cleansing techniques as well as two couplets in which the second exclamatory lines—containing a word repeated three times—rhyme with each other (“Toothpaste on the / brush! brush! brush!” “Take your time. / Don’t rush! rush! rush!”). Parents and caregivers seeking an enjoyable, stimulating way to motivate youngsters to perform this important daily task may wish to recite the rollicking verses to provide a pleasant, rhythmic, chanting “background” whenever their kids wield their toothbrushes. The colorful, energetic illustrations depict happy, wide-eyed, racially diverse small children—some with missing teeth—taking care of their oral-hygiene business with gusto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

We’ll say it: a toothsome experience. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1340-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

Close Quickview