Once young ones catch on to what’s happening, they will no doubt demand repeat reads—followed by much switching on and off...

READ REVIEW

TURN OFF THAT LIGHT!

A little hedgehog stars in an interactive bedtime story.

As the book opens, the hedgehog is fast asleep in bed, surrounded by toys, when an unseen someone turns on the light. “Turn off that light!” he yells, and it goes out—only to be turned back on. This sequence repeats itself again and again! Who is doing it—the toys scattered about the room? No, the word CLICK at the top of the verso is the clue—it’s you, the readers. It may take some adult help for young listeners to catch up with that device, but the black double-page spreads lit with white speech balloons that alternate with the colorful scenes of the bedroom and toys effectively establish the setup. The hedgehog becomes more and more unraveled by the proceedings, making considerable mayhem and even uttering maniacal laughter as it attempts to take control of the situation. The ending is a surprise, possibly even a letdown, as hedgehog’s dilemma is resolved with a glass of water. The digital illustrations depict the hedgehog with a brush of bristles, big eyes, and tiny legs; the palette is surprisingly subdued for such a manic setup, dominated by grays and pastels, but the graphic-novel–style layout effectively uses panels to amp up the energy.

Once young ones catch on to what’s happening, they will no doubt demand repeat reads—followed by much switching on and off of the lights. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-101-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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