Although the instinct to care for others is important to nurture, this seems like an unnecessary throwback to an earlier era.

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THE DOLL HOSPITAL

It’s not only the patients, but the doctor and nurses who are dolls, too.

Dr. Pegs, a doll with Raggedy Ann–orange hair, a light brown face, and green scrubs, gets overwhelmed when too many patients arrive. There’s Portia, a pretty, brown porcelain doll with a cracked arm, and Scoop, a blond, pink-faced stuffed boy doll with a tummy ache. Then come Baby, a white doll whose talking mechanism is broken (“Instead of saying ‘Mommy,’ she says, ‘MOO!’ ”), and Teddy, a brown bear missing one eye. Dr. Pegs had one chore in mind: to sort the buttons, needed for emergencies. Now she’s terribly flustered and must ring the “special bell” for the Nesting Nurses. A set of nurses with diverse racial identities, resembling Russian wooden dolls, arrives and efficiently solves every toy’s problem, even sorting the pesky buttons. In fact, they do all the work, but Dr. Pegs centers herself when she says “I couldn’t have done it without you.” Collage and digital illustrations have a charming retro look with a palette that relies on red, green, yellow, and brown (and, interestingly, no black), and the text is cumulative in a satisfying way, but the message is mixed. Although the doctor is female and cheerfully thanks her female assistants, she still manages to come out on top. Couldn’t medical teamwork have been shown in a more enlightened way?

Although the instinct to care for others is important to nurture, this seems like an unnecessary throwback to an earlier era. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0121-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion.

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SLEEP LIKE A TIGER

The stages and script preceding this child’s passage into dreamland are so appealing they will surely inspire imitation.

When the protagonist announces that she is not sleepy, her wise parents counter that they are not requiring sleep, only pajama-wearing, face-washing and teeth-brushing. She then feels so good that “she loved / …stretching her toes / down under the crisp sheets, / lying as still as an otter / floating in a stream.” Logue’s words lull and caress as parents and child converse about how and where animals sleep. (Many appeared on earlier pages as toys.) Alone, the youngster replays each scene, inserting herself; the cozy images help her relax. Zagarenski’s exquisite compositions are rendered digitally and in mixed-media on wood, offering much to ponder. The paintings are luminous, from the child’s starry pajamas to the glowing whale supporting her sleep journey. Transparent layers, blending patterns, complex textures and wheeled objects add to the sense of gentle movement. The tiger, both the beloved cloth version and the real deal, is featured prominently; it is the child who contributes this example, narrating the connection between strength and rest. When sleep arrives, the stuffed animal is cradled in her arms; she leans against the jungle beast, and he clings to her doll.

This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-64102-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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When Llama Llama’s feeling “just not right” turns into a full-blown sickness complete with aches, sneezing, fever and sore...

LLAMA LLAMA HOME WITH MAMA

From the Llama Llama series , Vol. 5

Proving once again that she understands the preschool set, Dewdney shows what life is like when first Llama Llama and then Mama get sick.

When Llama Llama’s feeling “just not right” turns into a full-blown sickness complete with aches, sneezing, fever and sore throat, Mama sends him back to bed (wearing red pajamas, of course) and administers the inevitable yucky medicine. The listless boy struggles to occupy himself, but Mama saves the day with a book, after which he takes a curative snooze. But after lunch the tables turn—Llama Llama is feeling better, but Mama now has the sniffles: “Llama Llama, red pajama, / sick and bored, at home with Mama.” Luckily, he’s still in that delightful preschool stage where helping out is a favorite playtime activity, and he has learned how to care for sick people from a master. A fluffed pillow, new box of tissues and stack of books are just what Mama needs. While his actions are sweet and endearing, it’s the togetherness that sets both on the road to recovery. Dewdney’s artwork is the ideal foil to her rhyming verses—her characters’ bleary, sick expressions alone are sure to elicit giggles and knowing smiles.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01232-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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