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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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