It’s difficult indeed for a bedtime book to stand out, and this one doesn’t quite deliver.

READ REVIEW

GO TO SLEEP, LITTLE FARM

Ray and Neal tackle the tried-and-true theme of bedtime on the farm.

Ray’s work does have some lovely turns of phrase; “Somewhere a pocket sleeps in a skirt” and a reference to “minutes that sleep inside clocks” are standouts. But as a girl is tucked into bed while the farm and natural world settle down around her, almost-rhymes and spotty rhythms undermine the text’s alternately lilting and halting efforts toward lullaby. Take the line “Somewhere a fox calls her pups to their den—as somewhere shadows tuck a house in.” It almost works, but not quite. Meanwhile, Neal’s mixed-media illustrations have a somewhat retro style and are appropriately dark and soothing, with soft visual textures and forms on each spread. Illustrations also strive to extend the text by resisting redundancy; for example, the line “Somewhere a bear” is accompanied by an illustration of a bear in the wild, but the page turn “finds a bed in a log” paired not with that same bear but a teddy bear and the girl burrowed under blankets. Perhaps a consistent continuation of this conceit, marrying nature scenes with parallel scenes in the girl’s home (à la the Dillons’ interpretation of Margaret Wise Brown’s Two Little Trains, 2001) would have succeeded.

It’s difficult indeed for a bedtime book to stand out, and this one doesn’t quite deliver. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-15014-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride.

IT'S RAMADAN, CURIOUS GEORGE

For one special month, George accompanies a young friend through fasts, feasts, and good works at the mosque.

Such headers as “Waiting for Sunset” and “Sharing with Others,” along with glimpses of stars and crescents in the background and a “Ramadan Mubarak” banner, offer oblique references to some basic themes and symbols, but Ramadan’s purpose, many of its practices, and even the word “Muslim” go unmentioned in this tabbed board book. Khan’s rhyme lumbers along (“George can’t wait for tomorrow, / When the month of Ramadan will start. / It’s a special time of year for his friends, / And George is going to take part!”). Meanwhile, Young plugs George and the Man in the Yellow Hat into scenes with Kareem, his father, and his hijab-wearing mother. (Kareem and his dad appear to be black; his mother is lighter-skinned.) They make cookies, gather with friends at sunset to break their daily fast and pray (offstage), then enjoy “Kabobs, curry, veggies, and rice” with chocolate-dipped bananas for dessert. At the mosque, George helps Kareem make food baskets and tries to pass out the racked shoes until an imam gently stops him. Finally, beneath a thin crescent moon at month’s end, George gets a new vest (and the Man a yellow fez) for the celebration of Eid.

A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-65226-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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