Though gratifying for fans of the illustrator’s art, this bear doesn’t otherwise quite earn its space in the bed.

READ REVIEW

THE BEAR IN MY BED

The protagonist of Wan’s The Whale in My Swimming Pool (2015) returns to find another surprise.

The opening endpapers promise fun, with repeating images of a bed-sized bear and a small child rotating through precarious configurations, trying to get comfortable in a bed for one. Sure enough, silliness ensues. The child tries to get them both ready for bed, but the bear doesn’t seem to get it: “I said potty time, not party time!” remonstrates the child. Spread after spread of shenanigans culminates in bedtime and a moment of quiet…before a boisterous twist conclusion. It’s a promising premise, bolstered by the author/illustrator’s beloved graphic art. In addition to welcoming back the racially indeterminate, brown-haired protagonist, readers of The Whale in My Swimming Pool will enjoy spying a familiar face through a bedroom window. Bold lines and clean, colorful shapes bring the exuberant naughtiness of bedtime struggles to life—a full-page illustration of a gleeful, underpants-as-headwear–bedecked bear, twirling in ribbons of toilet paper pretty much sums it up. The story, though, never quite moves beyond a collection of silly moments. In a missed opportunity for suspenseful page turns and engaging pacing, the text, primarily composed of the child’s comments to the bear, appears in the same spreads as the bear’s mischievous misunderstandings, causing it to read flat.

Though gratifying for fans of the illustrator’s art, this bear doesn’t otherwise quite earn its space in the bed. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30038-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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