A picture book that takes bedtime drama to a whole new level.


This is not your average bedtime story.

“ATTENTION, READER!!! / This book will get you to SLEEP./ It’s TRUE.” An excessively eager kangaroo, with a blue megaphone and snazzy blue boots, is up for the challenge of sending youngsters off to slumberland. Want to fall asleep? Pshaw, that’s easy. All you need are some monster trucks to roar by, “RUMBLING and BUMBLING and CRASHING.” Or maybe a menagerie of animals to lull you to sleep with screeching electric guitars: “RAOO RAOOO RAOOOOOOO!!! YOU ASLEEP YET?” Surely counting sheep will do the trick…except they’re running too fast for you to count them because they’re being chased by dragons! Tallec’s free-wheeling style shines as distraction upon distraction pile up on the book’s high-energy double-page spreads. John’s chatty narration and signature dry humor (“Hmm? / You’re wide-a—what? / You’re wide-AWAKE?”) propel the story with frenetic fun. Young audiences won’t hesitate to join in as the overzealous marsupial leads a stadium full of critters in a boisterous chant (“FALL ASLEEP! FALL ASLEEP! FALL ASLEEP!”), and the amusing sound effects are perfect for read-alouds. Alas, this book just may have the opposite effect of the titular vow; thankfully, a disclaimer is included on the cover. All characters are anthropomorphic animals. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A picture book that takes bedtime drama to a whole new level. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-374-31130-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones.


What’s better than a cheerleading chicken?

Are you ever blue, unsure, tired, or overworked? Do you ever feel lost or overwhelmed? This uplifting book, expressed in delightful, jaunty verse, explains how to lift your spirits pronto: What you need is a booster chicken telling you’re doing great even when you’re not so confident, as when you’re learning or practicing a new skill, for instance. Your feathered champion will be right there, encouraging you all the way, with a loud “WOO HOO!” that’ll keep you going and remove any doubt you’re super terrific. But what if your cheerful chick errs and doesn’t do what it set out to do? Don’t worry—your cheery chicken just needs a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. That alone is a pep talk, enhanced by the wisdom that making mistakes allows everyone to learn and demonstrate they did their best. So forgive yourself, chickens! But the best thing is…instead of relying on someone else—like a chicken—to strengthen your ego, say a generous daily “WOO HOO!” to yourself. This riotous book hits all the right notes and does so succinctly and hilariously. The energetic, comical illustrations, in Boynton’s signature style, will elicit giggles and go far to make the book’s important point. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-48679-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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