HANNAH'S NIGHT

A child wakes in the middle of the night and embarks on a quiet adventure.

When little Hannah realizes it’s still dark, she decides to tiptoe downstairs with her trustworthy cat, Shiro. Upon realizing all are asleep, the charming child takes small liberties: feeding the cat milk, eating cherries from the fridge and carefully playing with her sister’s toys. Sakai’s evocative illustrations envelop readers in the stillness and silence of a hushed home. Done in paint and colored pencil, they perfectly capture a child’s innocent point of view. Hannah is incredibly appealing as she squats next to Shiro, gazes up at the moon and giggles that her sister—just in the next bed—does not notice that Hannah is borrowing her toys. Each pose is perfection; parents will achingly recognize a magical time in their own children’s development, and young readers will recognize themselves in the careful explorer. The simple and elegant artwork provides a rich environment for the text, whose translation is offered with a New Zealand accent. As dawn breaks, Hannah spots the “prettiest dove she’d ever seen” outside her window. Trusting in the hope and wonder of a light-filled, new day, Hannah finally falls asleep, curled up next to Shiro on the edge of her sister’s bed.

Absolutely enchanting. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-877579-54-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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