THE BABIES ON THE BUS

A nursery-song staple is presented with lots of baby swagger.

Wheels turn round, doors open and close and wipers swish when a mob of energetic toddlers climbs aboard the bus in this energetic rendition of a classic preschool tune. There's an endearing energy in the busyness of the tots in tow. A little child turned driver serves not only as a willing participant as the youngsters explore their surroundings, but also attempts to corral the other babes, gleefully tooting the horn one moment and admonishing the group the next. The children’s sweet faces lead an angelic sing-along, then moods drastically change, resulting in tantrums until their napping brings welcome relief. (Even the driver forgoes attempts to soothe the boisterous group and curls up on the seat, cap slung across eyes in exhausted slumber.) Sunny mixed-media scenes capture the vehicle's enclosed space until a refreshing final spread exposes the gang’s exact location. Katz's signature style is in full form here; racially diverse, rounded characters wear patterned clothes, lovingly unpretentious in their soft, enthusiastic movements. Uncomplicated wording gives each verse its due, leaving no room for guessing in the buoyant conclusion. “The babies on the bus say, / ‘Bye-bye, bus!’ / Now it's time to go.”

Pub Date: July 19, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9011-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A successful offering from a well-matched pair.

IT'S TIME TO SAY GOOD NIGHT

A child greets the day and then says goodnight in this circular picture book.

Over the first three double-page spreads, spare verse (based on a song by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) relates the various sights that a boy beholds as he opens his window to the day: “Good Morning to the sun, / Good Morning to the hills, // Good Morning to the chickies and the hen. / Good Morning to the rooster, // Good Morning to the cow, / Good Morning to the piggies in the pen.” Ensuing pages show the boy greeting other creatures, things and places, moving from the pastoral setting of the opening to a city scene. The climax of the text reads (with a bit of a rhythmic misstep) “Good Morning! Good Morning! / To everything in sight! By the time I get through saying Good Morning, it’s time to say… // Good Night,” and then, looking rather forlorn, the child says “Good Night” to everything he’d greeted on prior pages. By the time he snuggles down to sleep, he is smiling as his mother (heretofore unseen amid all of his adventures) stands in his bedroom doorway. Barroux’s whimsical, naïve-style illustrations establish his work, once again, as an ideal match for Ziefert’s verse—see Bunny’s Lessons (2011) and My Dog Thinks I’m a Genius (2011) as other strong collaborations.

A successful offering from a well-matched pair. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-160905374-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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