A sweet but inessential offering for families who desire a bedtime story with a Christian theme.

READ REVIEW

BEDTIME BLESSINGS

A gentle bedtime story written as a prayer lists many reasons to be thankful.

An attractive cover shows the pink-cheeked, white child curled up asleep on a crescent moon, with a cozy home in the background. The story opens with the same child in bed with, probably, an older sibling; the prayer begins: “Dear God.” Appealing double-page spreads in soft, dreamy watercolors show a succession of children of diverse skin tones and hair textures, with loving families, friends, pets, and green spaces for play. The loose illustration style uses a flattened perspective reminiscent of a child’s artwork, with equally childlike static depictions of the characters. This naïve style leads to confusion, as it’s not clear whether the child on the cover reappears throughout in inconsistent portrayals, with hair sometimes redder or curlier or skin tone darker, or whether these figures are all entirely different children. Family relationships are also difficult to define. One particularly puzzling illustration, which may be problematic for some readers, shows the child praying at night in her bed with an adult, possibly male figure also under the covers. The short, rhyming text is a bit singsong, with specific references to God in the repeated thank-you pattern. The words “thank you” and other key phrases are set in larger, purple type, with other phrases unnecessarily set in italics. Despite these small drawbacks, the overall tone is soothing and appreciative, with gratitude and caring for others a clear theme.

A sweet but inessential offering for families who desire a bedtime story with a Christian theme. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4181-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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