Similarly resistant young children will be lulled by a subtly soothing tone that even the outsized pop-up doesn’t disturb.

READ REVIEW

THE RABBIT, THE DARK, AND THE COOKIE TIN

A rabbit who is not ready to go to sleep traps The Dark in a cookie tin.

The Dark (joined by a chorus of bats, owls, and baby foxes) quietly remonstrates from within the cookie tin, explaining that certain animals are awake at night and also that without bedtime there can be no breakfast. Gradually, Rabbit’s grumpy resistance fades…then vanishes when he sees his prized carrots wilting in the constant daytime heat. At last he opens the tin—a flap that lifts to unfold a big, spectacular starry sky—and: “ ‘WOW!’ said Rabbit. ‘The Dark can be so beautiful.’ ” Off goes Rabbit to bed, and barely has The Dark begun to murmur a bedtime story before he’s snoozing away. O’Byrne endows her anthropomorphic bunny with particularly expressive ears, adds several distressed but cute creatures, and depicts The Dark as a nebulous, unthreatening patch of blackness with no feature except a hand reaching into the tin for an offered cookie. The idea isn’t exactly original, but the strong connections between the narrative and the pictures give this a leg up over Anthony Pearson and Bonnie Leick’s similarly themed Baby Bear Eats the Night (2012), while Jöns Mellgren’s Elsa and the Night (2014) shares the conceit (and even the tin) but goes in a different, deeper emotional direction.

Similarly resistant young children will be lulled by a subtly soothing tone that even the outsized pop-up doesn’t disturb. (Pop-up/picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0576-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Both perfect for Lola fans and likely to earn her ever more readers.

LOLA GOES TO SCHOOL

From the Lola & Leo series

After years of everyday joys with McQuinn and Beardshaw’s Lola, readers now watch her start school.

It “will be a bit like story time at the library, but Lola will stay by herself.” The little black girl “knows what to expect” because she’s visited the school with her mom. She is prepared with gifts from loved ones—“fun pencils” from Nana, a water bottle from Ty. The night before her “big day,” Lola lays out her outfit. In the morning, she tucks her stuffed kitty, Dinah, in her bag and poses for a snapshot. In the classroom, Miss Suzan, a white woman, shows her where to put her things. Lola spends time reading with her friend Julia, who has pale skin and black hair, and then they play dress-up. Her mom sits for a while before saying goodbye. After snack time and more play, there is circle time. Of course, “Lola knows the song and all the motions.” Picking Lola up at the end of the day, Mommy hugs her daughter. Beardshaw’s soft, slightly smudgy illustrations allow young readers to focus on one cozy moment at a time. Even at this milestone, Lola still appears quite tiny, and the text is no more complex than in previous books, making this a seamless transition from Lola’s younger days to her new life in school.

Both perfect for Lola fans and likely to earn her ever more readers. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-938-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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