A droll and imaginative addition to the crepuscular corpus.

GOOD NIGHT, EARTH

Inventive book design and shifting perspectives add cozy surprises to this bedtime snoozer, originally published in Scandinavia.

“Little chimp should be asleep by now. / Mama has sung and played 73 songs / on her ukulele.” Turning half pages that act like blankets being pulled up (or down), drowsy young nappers join a family of extraterrestrials watching from very far away as various animals and animal parents go through simple or strenuous bedtime routines—or, in the case of a deceptively quiescent tarsier, get ready to leap into an all-night frolic. All (aliens included) turn out to be surrogates for Sweetie Pie, a human child, and her stuffies reluctantly snuggling down at long last…between a pair of weary parents. In Hasan-Rokem’s translation from the Swedish, the text is poetic, sly, and funny: “Look there, in the leaves! A little sloth in a hammock! / Shhh! Both she and the hammock are asleep, as usual.” Readers will see from the illustration that the “hammock” is the little sloth’s parent. Bondestam depicts human figures with beige skin, which allows some latitude for ethnic identification. Along with adding sly anthropomorphic touches to the rest of the cast, she caps the nighttime scenes with one final one of a comically frazzled family of owls barely getting through a sunrise supper of croissants and hot chocolate before collapsing. Parents of younger children will definitely relate.

A droll and imaginative addition to the crepuscular corpus. (Novelty picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63206-286-4

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Yonder

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something...

FLIGHT SCHOOL

From the Flight School series

A small round penguin with lofty aspirations finds success of a sort in a sweet, if slight, appreciation of the resourcefulness of teachers.

The sign near a cluster of wooden pilings in the middle of the water reads “FLIGHT SCHOOL / WE TEACH BIRDS TO FLY.” “I was hatched to fly,” announces Penguin upon his arrival from the South Pole. “I have the soul of an eagle,” he assures the gently dubious Teacher. “Penguin and the other birdies practiced for weeks,” but he succeeds only in plunging into the ocean—not terribly gracefully. He is ready to give up when a solution devised by Teacher and Flamingo has Penguin flying, if only for a few moments, and his happiness at this one-time achievement is lasting. Judge’s edge-to-edge watercolor-and-pencil art is lively and amusing. Her various sea and shore birds—gulls, a pelican, a heron and a small owl among them—and their fledglings are just a little scruffy, and they are exaggeratedly, expressively funny in their anthropomorphic roles as teachers and students. Background shades of warm yellow, sea blue and green, and brown sand let the friendly, silly faces and bodies of the birds take center stage.

Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something so far out of reach. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-14424-8177-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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Charming Easter fun.

PETER EASTER FROG

You may know the Easter Bunny, but get ready to meet Peter Easter Frog!

Peter loves Easter, and he’s not going to let the fact that he’s a frog and not a bunny stop him, especially when he’s so good at hopping! He looks absolutely delighted to be hopping around delivering Easter eggs. As he hops along, so does a repeated refrain, which always begins with two words ending with “-ity” coupled with “Easter’s on its—” (“Squishity, squashity, Easter’s on its—”; “Yippity, yappity, Easter’s on its—”); each page turn playfully upends the expected conclusion of the line. Karas’ cheery art portrays a growing array of animals: a turtle decked out in lipstick and a spiffy Easter bonnet, a cow with flower choker necklace, and a sheepdog and a chipmunk sans finery. As Peter gives out colorful, patterned Easter eggs to the other animals, they are, at first, shocked to see an Easter frog but soon join him in his charitable mission to spread Easter cheer. The moment when the cow responds to the dog’s challenge that she is not a cow-bunny by pointing out its own breed as a “sheepdog” may elicit laughs, especially from adult readers. When the group finally meets the real Easter Bunny—hilariously, at the end of a dark tunnel—it seems that things may go awry, but all ends hoppily, happily, and inclusively. The text does not use dialogue tags, instead setting narration and dialogue in separate, distinctive typefaces; unfortunately, this design is not consistently applied, which may confuse readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.8% of actual size.)

Charming Easter fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6489-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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