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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An adventurous treat of a bedtime story.

BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES

A patient mother with a healthy sense of whimsy helps prepare her headstrong toddler for bed.

The story opens with a toddler, fists raised into the air, proclaiming, “No! No! No!” Thank goodness this not-at-the-moment-sweet creature’s mother is patient and creative as she corrals her child into a bedtime routine that may feel familiar to many readers. The words and behaviors of the child evading bed are translated into animal sounds and behaviors: wide-eyed and asking “Who? Who?” like an owl; shaking hair and roaring like a lion; hanging on for a hug like a koala. And, of course, the requisite leaving bed for a last trip to the bathroom and drink, like a human child. Zunon’s art takes this book to the next level: Her portrayals of the animals mentioned in the text are colorful and full of intriguing patterns and shapes. Additionally, the expressions on the faces of the mother, child, and animals speak volumes, portraying the emotions of each. Arguably, the sweetest part of the story comes at the end, when the child asks to sleep with Mommy and Dad. Though the mother sighs, the child climbs in, along with “owl, bear, snake, kitty, fawn, squirrel, koala, tiger, wolf.” (Readers attuned to details will notice the father’s look of delight at the parade of animals.) All characters are Black.

An adventurous treat of a bedtime story. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3832-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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