Readers familiar with beach vacations will close the book feeling nostalgic for their own ocean days.

A LULLABY OF SUMMER THINGS

As a little girl and her family settle down for the night, various objects remind the girl of their happy day at the beach.

“In the twilight blue,” a brown girl with very curly hair runs toward what appears to be a vacation beach home along with her siblings, father, and dog, as her mother waves at them from the house. With each step of getting ready for bed (“Bare feet skipping. / Wet towels dripping”), the girl is reminded of an aspect of “the beach that day— / the sea so cool, the waves at play.” That last couplet becomes a repeated refrain, modulating slightly to adapt to each new scenario. Three siblings and two parents, all of various skin hues and hair textures, say goodnight, while the family dog falls asleep on the floor. The final spread shows the house with a view from the water: “Ocean breezes sigh / your favorite summer lullaby.” The text is simple and lyrical, recalling beach-centered vacations in a way that is accessible to the youngest of children. While the cartoonlike stylings of the characters are friendly and approachable, they come across as a surprising match for the poetic text; still, the palette of purples and yellows, with breaks of ocean blues, is soothing for a bedtime read.

Readers familiar with beach vacations will close the book feeling nostalgic for their own ocean days. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93552-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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A good choice for just those days when Mom and Dad do go away and leave their children in charge of Grandpa.

HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA

From the How To... series

Reagan’s second outing is a tongue-in-cheek reversal of roles as a young boy instructs readers on how best to entertain and care for a grandpa while Mom and Dad are away.

First, he instructs them to hide when Grandpa rings the doorbell—resist the wiggles and giggles, and only pop out when he gives up. Then, reassure him that Mom and Dad will be back and distract him with a snack—heavy on the ice cream, cookies, ketchup and olives. Throughout the day, the narrator takes his grandpa for a walk, entertains him, plays with him, puts him down for a nap and encourages him to clean up before Mom and Dad’s return. Lists on almost every spread give readers a range of ideas for things to try, provided their grandfathers are not diabetic or arthritic, or have high blood pressure or a heart condition. These lists also provide Wildish with lots of fodder for his vignette illustrations. His digital artwork definitely focuses on the humor, with laugh-out-loud scenes and funny hidden details. And his characters’ expressive faces also help to fill in the grandfather-grandson relationship that Reagan's deadpan narrative leaves unstated.

A good choice for just those days when Mom and Dad do go away and leave their children in charge of Grandpa. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86713-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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It’s an obvious choice for Father’s Day, with year-round surprise applicability.

HOW TO SURPRISE A DAD

From the How To... series

The successful team behind How to Babysit a Grandma (2014) returns to create a quick how-to title for those wanting to seriously surprise their father.

A brother and sister join efforts with a little help from their mom. The first thing to remember: “To surprise a dad, you have to be tricky.” After showing readers how to disguise this book, they then suggest surprises to make (“build a snow-dad” or “invent something amazing just for him”), to do (“get his toothbrush ready” or “reorganize his shoes and hats”), and find by looking “up, down, under and all around.” Reagan keeps the text flowing with plans most children would feel confident carrying out, and Wildish adds touches of humor in each of the digitally rendered illustrations. Regular-day surprises are distinguished from “Special Day surprises.” When the ante is upped, deciding whom to invite, what treats will be served (spicy chips, smoked oysters, superstinky cheese), and what presents need to be made keep the young planners creatively busy. All the members of this family have dark, wavy hair and dark skin—a nice change from generic, pink-skinned families.

It’s an obvious choice for Father’s Day, with year-round surprise applicability. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-49838-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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