Punctuated with zaniness, McMullan’s litany nevertheless offers a quiet, calming rhythm to help little ones nod off.

HOW DO YOU GO TO SLEEP?

Twelve animals go to sleep in very different ways—which one do you resemble the most?

Writing in cadenced, lulling rhyme, McMullan compares animal sleeping habits to those of various children, inviting readers to ponder their own slumbering style. Squirrel, Octopus, Parrot, and Meerkat have specific bedtime rituals. How similar are they to yours? “Is a tree your cozy bed? / Do you turn purple, orange, and red? // Rest your head upon your back? / Sleep with others in a stack? / NO!” Hanson’s comfy illustrations show young tots attempting the silly situations. Readers are introduced to zebras, dolphins, pigeons, and more along with diverse human children trying out the many bedtime positions (alas, two floating pool snoozes look very similar). Anticipating the certain choruses of giggling “NO”s from young readers as they contemplate the scenarios, McMullan ends with a summation characterized by mock exasperation: “Well, when you go to bed, / if you don’t sleep / a tree sleep or sea sleep, / a tuck sleep or heap sleep,… / …a float sleep or sun sleep / how DO you sleep?” Four pages in which a young, black-presenting moppet engages in a typical human bedtime ritual sets things to rights.

Punctuated with zaniness, McMullan’s litany nevertheless offers a quiet, calming rhythm to help little ones nod off. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-57944-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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