Four children created the lively, magical artwork used for the endpapers; this book would charm if their art had been used...

THE VERY NOISY HOUSE

A simple, rhythmic text describes accelerating and decelerating noises at different levels of a house.

The house itself is exciting, its pagodalike shape further accentuated by double-page spreads that read vertically instead of horizontally. The first spread introduces “an old lady” on the bottom floor, who looks less old than demented, with her flapping lips, crooked glasses, wild hair and toothy grin. Her “BIG wooden stick” goes “CLOMP! CLOMP! CLOMP!” in the bold text at the page’s bottom and in large lettering over her story’s rooftop. On the floors above hers, sets of eyes peer out of dark windows. With each successive page turn, the next floor up features another grotesquely drawn occupant who reacts to the noise underneath with a new noise: A dog woofs, a cat meows, a baby wails, birds squawk. Each page also reveals a different, cluttered room in the old lady’s house and, inexplicably, a large line of spiders roaming about the lawn. The climax is appropriately noisy, and readers who make it to the end will enjoy the sly twist that arrives after all the noises have gradually died down.

Four children created the lively, magical artwork used for the endpapers; this book would charm if their art had been used throughout. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-84507-983-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Sure to invite cries of “Again!” (Picture book. 2-4)

QUIET!

From the Child's Play Library series

This picture book’s title belies its gently noisy contents.

The first-person text follows a child with light-brown skin and a mop of dark curly hair who takes readers throughout the family home and listens to all of the sounds therein. Neither text nor art provides a definite gender designation for the toddler, though a father and baby brother who share the same hair color and texture are identified as male. Race is similarly left ambiguous, with skin tones varying from page to page and no clear statement to specify race or ethnicity in the text. What is clear is that this child is comfortable and secure in Dad’s loving care and with the gentle companionship of a pet dog and cat in addition to the baby brother. Brightly colored interior scenes, together with occasional spreads with a minimal background that set objects and characters against the white of the page, invite readers to observe the many objects throughout the comfortable, spacious home, which are accompanied by sound effects. “Drip” goes a faucet, “Tingaling” rings a cat toy, “La La La La” sings Dad in a lullaby. And at book’s end, the titular quiet descends as the child drifts off to sleep. Throughout, appealing illustrations work with conversational, onomatopoeic text to engage readers in the tradition of historical “here and now” picture books.

Sure to invite cries of “Again!” (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84643-887-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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HOP ALONG BOO, TIME FOR BED

A lullaby sends Belle and her stuffed bunny, Boo, off to sleep.

The book opens with the sentient toy Boo stargazing from a treehouse window while Belle, a white girl with a brown bob, sings a lullaby. She’s in pajamas and ready for bed herself. It becomes unclear whether the ensuing text is in her voice or an omniscient narrator’s as she and Boo make their way to dreamland though a variety of settings evoked by the rhyming verses. Succeeding double-page spreads show scenes of a diverse group of children parading off to bed, with Belle and Boo always present. Some settings in this British import show a mismatch between text and art (“cowboys way out on the prairie” are in a cactus-studded desert), while others disappointingly reinforce stereotypes: a scene about dancers seems to omit all boy characters except for a single blond, white boy at center stage while nine girls stand in the wings, and then tipis show up in a nighttime scene with the children reading around a campfire surrounded by tents of many sorts. There’s no call from the text for their inclusion nor any cultural specificity that suggests a Plains Indian presence or context, which problematically renders the structures playthings verging on fantastic props. Throughout, the rhyming text seems a bit drawn-out, and illustrations verge on the saccharine.

A snooze. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-40833-708-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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