Any adult who has ever read to a group of preschoolers will grin with delight over these familiar antics, and regular...

Link nursery rhymes with storytimes, add animal characters and whimsical illustrations, and voilà: a rollicking, rhyming story.

It opens with: “Make way for the readers, / the riders, the rollers, / arriving in backpacks, / on bikes, and in strollers.” Assorted animals parade up to the gate adorned with the sign “Miss Bingo Storytime.” Miss Bingo is a singing flamingo who shares tales of kittens with mittens, Miss Muffet and her tuffet, and other favorite rhymes. The group raps to “The Cat and the Fiddle,” and Miss Bingo honks for the little ones to stretch high and low during a break. Oh no! The crocodile accidentally treads on mouse Annabelle’s toe. She makes a fuss, and storytime stops—until fox Rory reads her a slightly altered Mother Goose rhyme (“Annabelle Mousey-kin ran up the clock”). The colored-pencil illustrations have just the right amount of whimsy to fully entertain readers, who will love spotting familiar favorites in Miss Bingo’s backyard library. Miss Bingo wears a green dress, red eyeglasses on a pearl neck chain, and a jazzy green boater hat, and the other animals are just as jauntily attired. In particular, Rufus, the clumsy croc, sports a black tank top and red ball cap worn backward.

Any adult who has ever read to a group of preschoolers will grin with delight over these familiar antics, and regular storytimers will enjoy seeing this favorite activity depicted . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1851-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016


Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014


Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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