HOW SLEEP FOUND TABITHA

A young child restlessly awaits the arrival of sleep. Perched in her bed, Tabitha surveys her room and the myriad stuffed animals strewn across every surface. In her imagination, her beloved toys become animate, beseeching her to share sleeping quarters with them. From the murky depths of the whale’s seabed to towering heights of an eagle’s nest, Tabitha contemplates the resting-places of various animals. They describe their favorite napping spots in playful singsong rhymes. “ ‘Come slither to sleep where it’s dark and it’s deep’ whispered the snake.” Tabitha eagerly pretends to be a rabbit or seal, etc., envisioning her bed as a burrow, sea-drenched rocks, and more. DeVries balances Tabitha’s fanciful musings with pragmatic reality; a burrow is full of dirt, rocks are uncomfortable to sleep on, and so forth. Sleep eventually arrives in the form of a cuddly companion, with Tabitha’s gray cat snuggling into bed with the drowsy child. The watercolor illustrations are gracefully executed, artfully capturing both the luminescent beauty of the young child and offering stunning images of the different wildlife. Tabitha’s bedroom is a swirl of twilight-colored hues; soothing sapphires blend with brighter periwinkles, creating the dappled shadows from which her ingenious imaginings emerge. An engaging blend of whimsy and thoughtful reflection, this tale convincingly assures sleep-wary tots that their cozy beds are just the spot for them. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-55143-193-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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