A light bedtime story for children with a taste for whimsy and nonsense.

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MY BED IS AN AIR BALLOON

Dreamy sights and imaginary creatures surround children floating in their beds in this sleepy rhyming picture book.

From the front, a boy in his air-balloon bed sails “through the slipsiverse, close by the moon,” above trees and hilltops where “fluttertufts” and “whifflepigs” sleep and creep, over “ponds strong with starlight,” and up through the air. His bed is finally blown “adrift on the sea where the dream-shapes float; / When night falls my bed is a sailing boat.” The child’s bed, rather improbably, becomes the balloon itself, the dangling basket his dog’s bed, and when it transforms into the sailing ship, the dog’s bed becomes a dinghy it tow. In the middle of the book, his sailing-boat bed meets that of a girl, whose adventure is then followed to the end of the book. It mirrors his exactly, ending with “When night falls my bed is an air balloon.” The book can be read from front to back or from back to front, which is poetic and intriguing once readers unaccustomed to right-to-left texts get used to it. Jay’s whimsical paintings with their soft lines, calming blue-green-natural palette, round-faced children, and smiling moon match perfectly with Copus’ rhythmic text to make for a calming bedtime read. The boy is white with sandy blond hair and blue eyes; the girl is black, with brown afro puffs.

A light bedtime story for children with a taste for whimsy and nonsense. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-5713-3484-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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