An adequate treatment of a well-trod theme.

MONKEY NOT READY FOR BEDTIME

From the Monkey series

Brown’s anthropomorphic Monkey returns, and this time he’s not ready for bedtime.

Conspicuously absent from this book is Monkey’s baby brother (from the earlier title Monkey Not Ready for Baby, 2016). But Monkey’s big brother and parents are present, and they all try to help him get to sleep. Alas, soothing nighttime routines fail to do the trick, and this ends up making Monkey feel tired at school. Brown’s accompanying watercolor-and-gouache illustrations in the school scenes show Monkey asleep at his desk, pencil in hand, and nodding off on a swing while a young lion friend looks on with concern. After seeing him fall asleep at the dinner table, Monkey’s brother encourages him to try counting things in his mind to fall asleep. At first Monkey doesn’t think this sounds very promising, but when he decides to count dinosaurs he ends up engaging in imaginative flights of fancy with many different dinosaurs, an activity that ultimately sends him to dreamland. Endpapers featuring those dinosaurs extend the story beyond the main narrative and hand-lettered text combines with a studied, childlike style to give it a friendly look, though little else feels particularly fresh about this bedtime book.

An adequate treatment of a well-trod theme. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93761-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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