There are plenty of other bedtime stories that do not offer this potential confusion; seek them out for nighttime and save...



Babies and bedtime go hand in hand. Add an alphabet with cuddly illustrations on sturdy pages, and you have a book ready-made for lap sharing.

A little girl labels and describes each of the letters. The letters and most of the rhyming text appear on the verso with small vignettes, while full-page illustrations unfold a small story on the recto. “Cc for the Clock that tick-tocks on the wall. / Dd is my Dog, who’s not sleepy at all.” The brown-and-white dog appears next to the letters and then again opposite, tugging at the end of the girl’s blanket, while an analog clock appears on the wall above. For the more difficult letters, “Qq is for Quiet,” “Xx for relaX,” and “Yy is for Yawn, and I’m ready to sleep. / All hushed until morning, you won’t hear a peep. / Zz Z…z…z…z….” The droopy-eared dog steals the show, and the little, red-cheeked Caucasian girl’s interaction with it adds playfulness to the bedtime buildup. Despite the book’s overall appeal, there are some out-of-sync blips. In the vignettes next to each letter, the dog poses with an unnamed object that also begins with that letter, which offers extra identification fun but may also cause confusion. Next to K, the dog peeks out from what many readers may identify as a doghouse but may be a “Kiosk,” and next to N, the pup appears snout to snout with what looks like a stuffed lamb (perhaps “Nuzzling” it?).

There are plenty of other bedtime stories that do not offer this potential confusion; seek them out for nighttime and save this for a brainteaser. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015


Page Count: 30

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...


Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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