OLIVER WHO WOULD NOT SLEEP!

A little boy who “couldn’t and didn’t and would not sleep” prefers to stay awake and play. Every night after Oliver Donnington Rimington-Sneep’s parents kiss him goodnight and turn off the light, he bounces out of bed. Oliver paints, draws, does magic, reads and races cars. He even blasts off in a rocket all the way to Mars, where he isn’t at all scared. But eventually Oliver soars back to his room where “all his cuddlies looked cozy and warm” and, after all that adventure, he’s finally ready to fall asleep. The soporifically rhythmic verse casts Oliver as the mini-hero of his real and fanciful bedtime adventures. Whimsically detailed watercolor and line illustrations lift Oliver from the intimacy of his bedroom into a boundless outer-space fantasy world where creatures bear a strong resemblance to Oliver’s stuffed “cuddlies” and the rocket ship looks a lot like Oliver’s toy space ship. A warm and fuzzy homage to Sendak’s Max and his wild things guaranteed to lull little ones into their own night-time adventures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-439-92826-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2007

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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