A sweet treatment of a common theme.

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SCRITCH SCRATCH SCRAWW PLOP

In this French import, a little frog is afraid of nighttime sounds until his parents help him feel safe.

Even though his mother and father help him through his bedtime routine, little Jeremy doesn’t want to go to bed alone in his room after his father reads to him. He hears the titular noises—“scratch scratch scraww plop”—and runs to his parents’ bedroom. The setting of the anthropomorphic frogs’ home has a delightful detail befitting its inhabitants’ amphibious nature: the floors are submerged in a small depth of water. This is apparent in the cover art and in illustrations devoted to interior scenes. The first time Jeremy splashes over to his parents’ room, Dad brings him back to his bed. (As a side note, textual inconsistency refers to the father as both Dad and Daddy and to the mother as both Mama and Mom). This happens twice more, and on the last time Jeremy crawls into his parents’ bed. Now his father can’t sleep, and so he goes outside to sleep on a lily pad. Once there, he too hears the sounds that frightened his son. He brings Jeremy out to the lily pad, and there they discover the neighborly sources of these sounds (a mole, a bird, and a fish) before drifting off to sleep, themselves adrift.

A sweet treatment of a common theme. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59270-179-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous.

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THE KING OF KINDERGARTEN

Newbery honoree Barnes (Crown, illustrated by Gordon C. James, 2017) shows a black boy what to expect on his first day as “king” of kindergarten.

A young boy greets the reader with a sweet smile. “The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets. / It sits and shines behind your head—like a crown.” The text continues in second person while the boy gets ready for his first day—brushing “Ye Royal Chiclets,” dressing himself, eating breakfast with his mother and father before riding “a big yellow carriage” to “a grand fortress.” The kind teacher and the other children at his table are as eager to meet him as he is to meet them. Important topics are covered in class (“shapes, the alphabet, and the never-ending mystery of numbers”), but playing at recess and sharing with new friends at lunch are highlights too, followed by rest time and music. The playful illustrations use texture and shadow to great effect, with vibrant colors and dynamic shapes and lines sustaining readers’ interest on every page. Text and visuals work together beautifully to generate excitement and confidence in children getting ready to enter kindergarten. The little king’s smiling brown face is refreshing and heartwarming. The other children and parents are a mix of races; the teacher and staff are mostly brown.

Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4074-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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