From the Big Kid Power series

A little book about a big step in becoming a big kid.

The latest installment in van Lieshout’s Big Kid Power series offers encouragement for young readers making the transition from sleeping in a crib to sleeping in a “big bed.” The first-person narration (from the child’s perspective) describes how when they were little “I slept a lot…. And I slept anywhere.” The digitally created illustrations depict a two-parent family with brown skin and tightly curled black hair, the baby snoozing in a snuggly, a car seat, a stroller, and a crib—but now, “BIG KIDS SLEEP IN A BIG BED!” The narrator describes a bedtime routine that could take place with any sleeping arrangement. It includes books, kisses and hugs from caregivers, and snuggling with a “lovey.” The text then details the child’s emotional adjustment to sleeping in a big bed, with a central spread depicting their fears upon waking up in the middle of the night: “This bed is VERY BIG! Where am I? Where is my crib? What if my lovey falls out?” These worries are quickly assuaged with the next page turn, not by having parents reappear to soothe their little one, but with the child snuggling their “lovey” as they “cuddle up under the blankets…and go back to sleep.” While this independent, easy resolution may seem unrealistic to some, it offers an aspirational turn toward independence for young readers who might struggle in making this transition.

Sweet dreams, big kid. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6290-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A joyful celebration.


Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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As warm as a hug from Grandma.


Grandma is the star in dozens of picture books for older children, but seldom is the special bond between a toddler and their grandmother portrayed in a book for very young children.

This sweet, but not saccharine, board book fills that gap. Thankfully, this grandma does not have Alzheimer’s and is not dying. She simply delights in spending time with her cherished grandchild. The narrator, a charming bear cub, is not identified as male or female, which makes it easy for both girls and boys to insert themselves in the story. Each of the six rhyming couplets is spread across double-page spreads: “I love the fun we have each day, / And all the funny things you say.” Even in its small board-book trim size, there is still plenty of room for the winsome watercolors to highlight the familiar yet memorable rituals of a day spent with a loving and patient grandma. Note: “Rory Tyger” is the collective pseudonym for the British artistic team of Richard Greaves, Tracey Simmons, and Gabrielle Murphy. Their illustrations were originally used in Good Night, Sleep Tight by Claire Freedman (2003). In that story, the little bear is resisting bedtime. This reworking is a gentle and conflict-free ode to the special love between little bear and a doting grandma.

As warm as a hug from Grandma. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68010-524-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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