Stronger in dreamy cuteness than in astronomical facts. Better bedtime books abound

READ REVIEW

SLEEPY SOLAR SYSTEM

A sleepy sun says goodnight to nine planets and other solar system inhabitants.

From Mercury to Pluto, planets dutifully, and mostly cheerfully, prepare for bed. Sister Venus dons her nightgown; Mother Earth, with hair in rollers, wears pajamas. Grumpy Mars takes a shower; Jupiter scrubs his spot, etc., on to “Teeny Pluto (not to miss)," who wants "one more hug and kiss." In backmatter, Pluto is correctly identified as a dwarf planet, but other dwarf planets aren't mentioned. Asteroids appear between Uranus and Neptune in the story; the asteroid belt, usually shown between Mars and Jupiter is missing in the backmatter map. An additional science half-truth is the assertion that Venus can be seen in the sky at night; like the other Copernican planets, Venus may be seen in the evening, night, or early morning depending on the time of year. Couplets, mostly in rhyme, make up the text, but readers-aloud may find the rhythm bumpy. Sometimes there are four beats to a line; sometimes three. Set on a black background, Cenko's appealing, digitally created images seem perfect for animation. The globe of each planet becomes its face; two arms and a nightcap complete the image. (Before his shower, Mars has a baseball cap and a dog.)

Stronger in dreamy cuteness than in astronomical facts. Better bedtime books abound . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-936669-49-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Put on those gardening gloves; the fruits of this labor beckon.

THE LITTLE GARDENER

From the Teenie Greenies series

A young girl watches her garden grow.

Though she's a bit older than the typical board-book audience, her self-reliance makes her an appealing character for toddlers struggling to assert their independence. The strategic use of sturdy flaps provides both peekaboo fun and structure to the storyline. “Yellow daisy. / Red rose. / A bud blooms. / [lift flap] A flower grows.” Some of the interactive elements clearly connect objects to one another (shovel, pail), while other pairings review the progress of the blossoming outdoors. The child enjoys the results of her hard work (smelling a flower has never been so sweet) and waters her lush plants with her pint-sized watering can. Varied vocabulary extends the text. “Harvest carrots / . . . squash and peas. / [lift flap] Pollinated by the bees.” Perhaps due to their having been printed on recycled paper with soy inks, the matte sides of the flaps tend to be darker than the rest, which are glossy.

Put on those gardening gloves; the fruits of this labor beckon. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-93041-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Toddlers and young preschoolers, both independently and in groups, will enjoy both the guessing game and the simple,...

WHO ARE WE?

AN ANIMAL GUESSING GAME

An engaging, lift-the-flap riddle book that will keep little ones guessing.

The left side of each double-page spread offers a short, rhyming couplet describing a certain type of animal’s movement. For instance, the book begins with: “When we move, we are pretty slow. / Waddling keeps us warm in snow.” On the right side of the page is the question “Who are we?” printed atop a flap. On the edge of each flap is a tab with an arrow as well as a clue to the riddle’s answer. In this case, readers see orange, webbed feet and a white body. Simply lifting the flap reveals the word “Penguins” and three penguins who appear to be waddling across the page, but pulling on the tab in the direction indicated by the arrow reveals a hidden gatefold with another penguin scene and a fun fact: “We penguins have feathers to keep us dry and warm!” In addition to the penguins, readers see giraffes, snakes, arctic foxes and leopards. The rhyming riddles are amusing but not easy; children will need help from the clue on the tab to guess the answers. The appealing illustrations feature frolicking animals and uncluttered, skillfully rendered landscapes.

Toddlers and young preschoolers, both independently and in groups, will enjoy both the guessing game and the simple, interesting animal facts this offering provides. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-46762-9

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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