A lyrical, mostly lovely bedtime book.

SLEEP TRAIN

All aboard the sleep train!

The frontmatter pages introduce a child character reading a copy of Sleep Train—this very book—in bed. The child cuddles a stuffed animal on the title page. The perspective zooms out on the dedication and copyright double-page spread to show the child’s bedroom with a view of a city skyline at sunset. Turn the page again, and the lilting, rhyming text begins. “Sleep Train. Jiggling down that track. / Ten sleepy cars going clickety-clack.” The accompanying illustration of a train crossing a bridge with a city behind it removes readers from the bedroom to follow the train’s journey. Later pages count through the 10 cars, identifying the last as “the sleeping car” in which the child narrator is “all cozy in bed.” The illustrations are composed of digitally manipulated photographs of three-dimensional scenes that depict the train’s journey through various landscapes, with a few interior scenes of the sleeping car. The child narrator, who has brown skin and tightly curled black hair, is made of polymer clay. Unfortunately, as night falls, the progressive darkness of some scenes makes it difficult to see details in some illustrations. When the train approaches a station as the text counts through cars seven, eight, and nine, for example, darkness overwhelms the eye, and the image is hard to discern. The next spread, which depicts the entire train in near silhouette at a distance under a moonlit sky, is much more successful.

A lyrical, mostly lovely bedtime book. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47303-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over.

NOISY TRACTOR

From the I Can Learn series

Little ones can explore a day in the life of a rubber-covered, audio-enabled tractor.

The “5 noisy parts!” promised on the cover are powered by a battery embedded in the back of the book, the compartment securely screwed shut. Youngsters are prompted by the text to press various parts of the tractor to make interesting sound effects, such as an engine starting then chugging, a horn, and tire noise on muddy or rocky terrain. A large, tractor-shaped die-cut hole in every page allows children to access the vehicle on every double-page spread but leaves the left-hand pages dominated by that tractor-shaped hole. Farm animals make their signature sounds via speech bubble (horses, chicks, and cows, to name a few) along with other critters offering suggestions about which buttons on the tractor to press. For additional play value, a ladybug and a caterpillar can be spotted on every double-page spread. Labels for most of the animals appear in a clear font along with other farm-centric vocabulary words: pitchfork, seedlings, trough. Elliott’s art is busy, but the simple, eye-catching patterns and graphically clean lines in bright colors will appeal to the audience. While this offering is perfect for toddlers, the extensive warnings in the fine print on the back of the book about what may happen if the button battery is swallowed should scare adults into being vigilant. Thankfully, there is an on/off switch allowing for toggling between a quiet and noisy reading experience.

Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-669-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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There is always room in the Easter basket for a counting book, and many readers may appreciate having another simple,...

TEN EASTER EGGS

A cheerful brown bunny hiding behind the edges of an Easter basket looks just as surprised as young children will be to find the chicks revealed as each egg “hatches.”

With help from a reading partner, young children are encouraged to count down the eggs as they disappear with each page turn. Alternatively, they can count up as the chicks are revealed. A simple phrase at the top of each right-hand page states the number of eggs in the basket. The line at the bottom (half of a rhyming couplet) tells how many chicks readers should look for. The numbers are spelled out, requiring young children to recognize the word instead of the more familiar numeral. On the left-hand page, the spaces previously occupied by an egg begin to fill with meadow plants and critters, eventually becoming a scene as busy and cheerful as a greeting card. This book begs to be touched. Each egg is made of shaped plastic that protrudes through die-cut holes on the verso; they can be pressed but seem to be securely anchored. The pastel chicks are lightly flocked, providing an additional tactile experience. Although the pages are thicker than paper, young fingers may find the holes a convenient way to grip (and possibly tear) the pages.

There is always room in the Easter basket for a counting book, and many readers may appreciate having another simple, nonreligious holiday book. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-74730-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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