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

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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A delectable bilingual experience.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO EAT

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo is tasked with nourishing nine famished luchadores.

Following ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market (2019), author/illustrator Raúl the Third and colorist Bay create a second installment in their bilingual series, ¡Vamos!, here following Little Lobo’s journey as he provides sustenance to hungry lucha libre stars. The cheerfully energetic anthropomorphic wolf reprises his role as a bike courier when he receives a message from El Toro and makes his way to el Coliseo, winding and weaving through busy streets. A mouthwatering experience follows as Little Lobo—accompanied by dog Bernabé and rooster pal Kooky Dooky—picks up tacos, diced fruit, freshly made tortillas, flan, and buñuelos from a gathering of food trucks. As in his other work, Raúl the Third imbues his pages with real-world and pop-culture references. An homage to Picasso’s Guernica, recognizable Ciudad Juárez–El Paso landmarks, a Chavo del Ocho inside a barrel, and even a Chapulín Colorado marionette all make the cut. Readers ignorant of these specifics will not feel left out: The busy pages filled with interesting characters and intriguing bilingual signage make readers wish they could jump into the pages and experience the bustling town. Bay’s comic book–style coloring and creative textures provide a deep cultural exposure to the lavish array of Mexican food throughout the spreads. After enjoying the story, readers will keep going back to savor all the minuscule details.

A delectable bilingual experience. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-55704-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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