Picture perfect whatever the weather.

WHEN THE STORM COMES

Weathering storms is best done together.

“What do you do when the clouds roll in, / When the wind chimes clang and the weather vanes spin?” the opening text asks as Yoo’s illustration focuses on rooftops, above which sea gulls wheel and leaves begin to blow. The page turn reveals two scenes as the narrative voice shifts to answer. “We watch. We sniff. We perk our ears, / and listen as the rumbling nears. / We count supplies. We check the news. / We find our comfort spot. We s n o o z e.” On verso, families of foxes and squirrels take notice of thunder while on recto, a human family breaks out candles and a flashlight as the cat sleeps, undisturbed. These parallel scenes move on through the rest of the book, sometimes on facing pages, sometimes not. The humans portrayed comprise a diverse, multiracial cast while the animals include family pets, whales, rabbits, birds, and bees (inaccurately depicted taking shelter in a paper-wasp nest). Yoo’s friendly illustrations have a soft visual texture, and while the palette darkens considerably at the height of the storm and some characters register alarm at the thunder and lightning, the art overall creates a cozy, safe feeling. Yes, Ashman’s rhythmic couplets are about a literal thunderstorm bearing down upon a coastal community, but it could well be read metaphorically as it depicts the strength found in facing challenges together.

Picture perfect whatever the weather. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-399-54609-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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An adventurous treat of a bedtime story.

BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES

A patient mother with a healthy sense of whimsy helps prepare her headstrong toddler for bed.

The story opens with a toddler, fists raised into the air, proclaiming, “No! No! No!” Thank goodness this not-at-the-moment-sweet creature’s mother is patient and creative as she corrals her child into a bedtime routine that may feel familiar to many readers. The words and behaviors of the child evading bed are translated into animal sounds and behaviors: wide-eyed and asking “Who? Who?” like an owl; shaking hair and roaring like a lion; hanging on for a hug like a koala. And, of course, the requisite leaving bed for a last trip to the bathroom and drink, like a human child. Zunon’s art takes this book to the next level: Her portrayals of the animals mentioned in the text are colorful and full of intriguing patterns and shapes. Additionally, the expressions on the faces of the mother, child, and animals speak volumes, portraying the emotions of each. Arguably, the sweetest part of the story comes at the end, when the child asks to sleep with Mommy and Dad. Though the mother sighs, the child climbs in, along with “owl, bear, snake, kitty, fawn, squirrel, koala, tiger, wolf.” (Readers attuned to details will notice the father’s look of delight at the parade of animals.) All characters are Black.

An adventurous treat of a bedtime story. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3832-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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