AS BABIES DREAM

Lush illustrations and lulling, playful verse create a warm and wonderful bedtime hug.

A bedtime story bursting with strong, quiet love.

Hinting at a stunning sunset, illustrations in deeply vibrant, softly dappled oranges, reds, and purples begin this gentle nighttime story of animal parents and offspring settling in for a night’s rest. The text on each page follows a soothing pattern but also plays with both internal and end rhymes for an added treat. “As the crows fly / and the rivers flow, // As the eagles cry / and the winds blow,” the book opens. Later: “As the rabbits hop / and the owls call, // As the leaves drop / and the rains fall,” it continues pages later, still the same sentence. Young listeners are introduced to several birds, farm animals, and woodland mammals as well as frogs, turtles, and snakes. (There’s also a lion family, quite out of place but useful for the rhyme.) By the end of the story, it is now a starry moonlit night illustrated in dark reds, purples, and blues, and readers have moved from wildlife to city life, with the sentence finally concluding: “As the stars gleam / high above, // the babies dream / safe in our love.” The final image frames five different families in urban windows glowing with that love. The illustration suggests both family and racial diversity and includes what appear to be single-parent, two-parent, same-gender, and multigenerational families of White, Asian, and Black origin. In one family, the father wears a kippah. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Lush illustrations and lulling, playful verse create a warm and wonderful bedtime hug. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3681-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

HAPPY EASTER, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

An upbeat Easter outing with a beloved character.

Pookie celebrates Easter with a play date and holiday activities.

Pookie’s friend Bean, a gray puppy, comes over for Easter fun that includes lots of bouncing around and egg decorating. After Bean goes home, Pookie gets excited about the Easter Bunny’s arrival and goes to sleep dreaming of a large chocolate egg. Like the other Pookie books before it, this one is told in rhyme from the perspective of a loving grown-up addressing the little pig, which keeps the pace moving and makes for a great read-aloud. Bean and Pookie are realistically—and endearingly—childlike, from Pookie’s pronunciation of yellow as “lellow!” to the joyful mess they make while decorating eggs. There are plenty of sweet and festive touches, such as the bunny ears that Bean and Pookie (and Pookie’s teddy) wear and the daffodils painted on the end of Pookie’s bed. The illustrations include large, full-page images as well as smaller vignettes against solid backgrounds. One page shows Pookie and parent looking out the window at the moon, anticipating Easter’s spoils. For fans of Boynton and little Pookie, this Easter tale is exactly as expected: a touch of playfulness, a relatable story, and comfort in the familiar. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An upbeat Easter outing with a beloved character. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-66592-838-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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