A truly compelling ticket to slumberland for even the most wakeful nappy-clad night owl.



What to do when even the usual cure for insomnia—views of small, fuzzy animals drowsing off—doesn’t work.

It’s a new suite of impossibly fuzzy, cute, photorealistic baby animals of the sort that continue to render readers of Houran and Hanson’s Next to You: A Book of Adorableness (2016) helpless. A tableau of yawning, cozy goat kids with peepers shuttered or at half-mast accompanies the suggestive line: “I bet you can’t wait to / close… / your…”—but the book immediately upsets expectations with the page turn, offering a contrasting view of a tiny tarsier with huge, bright eyes and the surprised observation: “Oh! / You are WIDE awake.” How about reverse psychology then? “Let’s stay up!” Just try to ignore the “baby ape with the blankie,” the snoozing little fox, and, if at all possible, the bunny and the guinea pig snuggled together. “Come on! / That’s not even FAIR!” the unseen narrator protests indignantly. But the toughest challenge is saved for the end: “PUPPIES. / Argh!” There’s only one way to keep from seeing them. Houran and Hanson once again manage a delicate balancing act, both poking fun at the soft-focus cutesy-animal books that crowd shelves and at the same time unapologetically bathing readers in their gauzy glow.

A truly compelling ticket to slumberland for even the most wakeful nappy-clad night owl. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1271-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements.


From the Pout-Pout Fish Mini Adventure series

The Pout-Pout Fish brand expands.

Halloween is here, and Mr. Pout-Pout Fish is giving out treats from his submarine home. Those familiar with the blue striped fish will find the usual uncluttered illustrations and rhyming scheme (“Who’s at the helm / of the spooky submarine? // It’s you, Mr. Fish! / Have a happy Halloween!”). New readers may be drawn in by the colorful costumes the various fish wear as they trick-or-treat along the ocean floor. Keen-eyed readers with some pumpkin-carving experience may wonder how a jack-o’-lantern can be lit under water. This board book is a fairly standard look at Halloween, putting a popular character in common holiday trappings and adding nothing else. Fans of the holiday will have to look elsewhere for a more exciting take on Halloween’s thrills.

Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30191-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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From the Llama Llama series

In this board book designed for the littlest llama lovers, adorable-as-ever Llama Llama (Llama Llama Red Pajama, 2005, etc.) gets ready for some Halloween fun.

Dewdney’s characteristic spare, apt rhymes convey a lot of action in effortlessly readable fashion. A charming and simple introduction to Halloween and its associated activities, this title finds little Llama Llama choosing and carving a pumpkin, pouring candy into bowls, picking out a costume and, finally, trick-or-treating. The costume Llama Llama decides to don—pointy teeth and a black mask and cape—is enough to frighten and fool his friends but not readers, who will immediately recognize and smile at the silly little mini-Dracula. With Dewdney’s characters as expressive as ever, young readers will be drawn right into the holiday fun, eagerly anticipating which costume Llama Llama will choose and excited to see him scare his friends and score some candy at trick-or-treat. In the equally appealing companion title, Llama Llama Jingle Bells,the little fellow gets ready for Christmas, baking and decorating some cookies in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. This simple holiday title will win Llama Llama new fans, and old friends will want to add it and its companion to their collections. (Board book. 1-2)


Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0451469786

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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