A master of the bedtime hush, Fox shines.


An adult mouse spins tales to lull a young mouse to sleep.

Bedtime often begs for creativity in parents if they are called upon for a story. The child ends up hearing an inventive mix of a little of this and a little of that. Fox whirls that colloquialism into a gentle rhyme, beginning with the soothing refrain: “I’ll tell you a story of this, / and I’ll tell you a story of that.” Each scenario that follows is a tantalizing possibility: “I’ll tell you a story / of cavernous caves / and a chimp / with a magic hat.” Here Horacek transforms the tiny mouse’s bed, a green box, into a boat, taking both parent and child on an adventure past said silly monkeys. Then, mouse and pup scamper to a new setting, while the narrator again intones, “I’ll tell you a story of this, / and I’ll tell you a story of that.” As the conceit spins itself out, Horacek’s boldly outlined critter duo find themselves in a bustling, multicultural market—meeting a pair of tangled giraffes that are trying to sit on a mat—and then a castle filled with royalty of all races (where, of course, kings and queens liked to chat). The repetition of “that” and the many words that rhyme with it creates a rhythm that encourages participation and can also be used by the adult to dial down a child’s energy at the end of the day.

A master of the bedtime hush, Fox shines. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03780-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...


A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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