A tender bedtime tale set in a too-seldom-seen northern world.

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IN THE SKY AT NIGHTTIME

A quiet book for putting young children to bed in a state of snowy wonder.

The magic of the north comes alive in a picture book featuring Inuit characters. In the sky at nighttime, snow falls fast. / … / In the sky at nighttime, a raven roosts atop a tall building. / … / In the sky at nighttime, a mother’s delicate song to her child arises like a gentle breeze.” With the repetition of the simple, titular refrain, the author envisions what happens in a small town at night: Young children see their breath in the cold; a hunter returns on his snowmobile; the stars dazzle in the night sky. A young mother rocks her baby to sleep with a song and puts the tot down with a trio of stuffed animals: hare, polar bear, seal. The picture book evokes a feeling of peace as the street lamps, northern lights, and moon illuminate the snow. The illustrations are noteworthy for the way they meld the old world with what it looks like to be a modern Indigenous person: A sled dog and fur-lined parkas combine easily with the frame houses, a pickup truck, power lines, and mobile-hung crib. By introducing Indigenous characters in an unremarkably familiar setting, the book reaches children who don’t always see themselves in an everyday context.

A tender bedtime tale set in a too-seldom-seen northern world. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77227-238-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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