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The very model of an instantly beloved bedtime story, destined to replace any number of lesser, though popular efforts. In lambent cadence, the text takes the form of a lullaby, with gently repeated phrases: “I will hold you ’til you sleep / Safe and warm within my arms / Dream of springtime’s gentle breezes / While my lullaby surrounds you / Dearest baby, child of mine / I will hold you ’til you sleep.” Muth’s exquisite watercolor and gouache images take the tale from spring to autumn, winter and spring again, as a small boy grows and his parents age. In one example, “I will kiss you when you fall” depicts first the mother comforting the boy when he’s fallen from his bike, and then the same phrase shows the father consoling a teenage boy while in the distance a girl is running off hand-in-hand with another guy. The lovely reassurance of, “I will love you all your life,” is echoed visually, as the boy, holding a cell phone in a European church square, faces a page where the graying parents are smiling into their phone. It closes with rainbows, grandchildren and the suggestion to carry the love forward. This isn’t cheap sentimentality, but deep feeling and lovely art perfectly in tune. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-439-43420-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2006

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Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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