HOP ALONG BOO, TIME FOR BED

A lullaby sends Belle and her stuffed bunny, Boo, off to sleep.

The book opens with the sentient toy Boo stargazing from a treehouse window while Belle, a white girl with a brown bob, sings a lullaby. She’s in pajamas and ready for bed herself. It becomes unclear whether the ensuing text is in her voice or an omniscient narrator’s as she and Boo make their way to dreamland though a variety of settings evoked by the rhyming verses. Succeeding double-page spreads show scenes of a diverse group of children parading off to bed, with Belle and Boo always present. Some settings in this British import show a mismatch between text and art (“cowboys way out on the prairie” are in a cactus-studded desert), while others disappointingly reinforce stereotypes: a scene about dancers seems to omit all boy characters except for a single blond, white boy at center stage while nine girls stand in the wings, and then tipis show up in a nighttime scene with the children reading around a campfire surrounded by tents of many sorts. There’s no call from the text for their inclusion nor any cultural specificity that suggests a Plains Indian presence or context, which problematically renders the structures playthings verging on fantastic props. Throughout, the rhyming text seems a bit drawn-out, and illustrations verge on the saccharine.

A snooze. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-40833-708-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sure to invite cries of “Again!” (Picture book. 2-4)

QUIET!

From the Child's Play Library series

This picture book’s title belies its gently noisy contents.

The first-person text follows a child with light-brown skin and a mop of dark curly hair who takes readers throughout the family home and listens to all of the sounds therein. Neither text nor art provides a definite gender designation for the toddler, though a father and baby brother who share the same hair color and texture are identified as male. Race is similarly left ambiguous, with skin tones varying from page to page and no clear statement to specify race or ethnicity in the text. What is clear is that this child is comfortable and secure in Dad’s loving care and with the gentle companionship of a pet dog and cat in addition to the baby brother. Brightly colored interior scenes, together with occasional spreads with a minimal background that set objects and characters against the white of the page, invite readers to observe the many objects throughout the comfortable, spacious home, which are accompanied by sound effects. “Drip” goes a faucet, “Tingaling” rings a cat toy, “La La La La” sings Dad in a lullaby. And at book’s end, the titular quiet descends as the child drifts off to sleep. Throughout, appealing illustrations work with conversational, onomatopoeic text to engage readers in the tradition of historical “here and now” picture books.

Sure to invite cries of “Again!” (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84643-887-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This farm book doesn’t make it to the top of the haystack.

A DAY AT THE FARM

Three cute Caucasian kids pull on their brightly colored rain boots and head to the car for a trip to the farm with Mom and Dad.

As well as identifying all the buildings and different parts of the farm, the kids get to hang out with the animals, feeding ducks and chickens, collecting eggs, picking tomatoes, milking the cow, picking fruit, petting a donkey, playing in the hay, driving a tractor and stopping for a relaxing country picnic. The brightly colored pages illustrating their inevitable adventures (stepping in the muck; being chased by a goat) are interspersed with cleanly drawn vocabulary pages showing pond animals and plants, fruits, vegetables, crops and farm machinery. Neatly done, although not outstanding among the vast number of picture books with similar intent, this picture book feels a bit like paint by numbers, and some parents may be prone to an extra yawn or two at bedtime. However, the flat, bright colors and clear, readable text will be attractive to the very young. Parents and children will like the board book’s rounded corners. Folks in rural areas should be aware that one picture shows a child sitting on an untacked pony’s back.

This farm book doesn’t make it to the top of the haystack. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-926973-76-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more