In his first collection for toddlers, master anthologist Hopkins has organized 30 poems by over 20 poets in five sections: “Family,” “Food,” “Firsts,” “Play,” and “Bedtime.”
Despite the saccharine title taken from Rebecca Kai Dotlich's “Sandman” poem, these verses are not doggerel, making it a refreshing departure from the unfortunate board-book norm. The longest poem is only eight lines long, while most have four to six. The vocabulary is simple, and the rhymes work, as readers will expect from such well-known poets as X.J. Kennedy, Jane Yolen, Eileen Spinelli, Marilyn Singer, Alice Schertle, and J. Patrick Lewis. Parents and grandparents—arguably the primary audience for this collection—may discover some new favorites among the other contributors: Prince Redcloud, Joan Bransfield Graham, Laura Purdie Salas, Christine O'Connell George, and several more. Hopkins has chosen poems written from the child's viewpoint, so even with multiple authors there is a unity of concept. Nassner's pastel-hued illustrations match the tone of each poem, and her anthropomorphic-animal cast sidesteps the challenge of representing ethnic diversity that photos or more realistic illustrations would present.
Young board-book listeners will be happy when their caregivers take Hopkins’ advice: “Read to me—then— / read to me / read to me / again and again.” (Board book. 1-3)