A series of questions and answers couched in rhymed couplets investigates the resting places of a succession of wild and domestic animals, ranging from the chipmunk to the wren, to the pony, goat, and sheep in this gentle bedtime story. “Little spider on the wall, / Tell me, do you sleep at all? / When the stars light up the skies, / I weave a cradle, just my size.” The language is soft and sibilant, like a lullaby. Even though danger lurks outside, each animal has a place of refuge. The unusual artwork, with unifying motifs of embossed monochromatic eucalyptus leaves and detailed insects, was made with oil paint on prepared, French, handmade Arches paper. The animals were cut out, arranged in layers, and then photographed against embossed backgrounds. Although some of the animals verge on cuteness, the predominant visual impression is one of natural textures. The cover and the title prefigure the ending, revealed in pictures only, where the animals gather around a stable, a white cloth radiating light from a manger, a resting place for one unseen child. The harmonious art, gentle verses, and comforting yet mysterious view of nature should make this a nursery favorite. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1668-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.


Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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For the youngest of unicorn fanatics; others may want to look for their magic elsewhere.


A young unicorn frolics with friends and family to the tune and lyric structure of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Predictably, the singable text reads: “Twinkle, Twinkle, unicorn, / sparkle with your magic horn. // Leaping over clouds so high, / like a diamond in the sky.” Each double-page spread shows the titular creature, yellow and with a rainbow mane, tail, and horn, leaping over rainbows, cavorting with bumblebees, and dancing with a pink bunny, among others. As night falls, the unicorn enjoys a story from what are likely parental figures, an older pink unicorn sporting a necklace and a blue unicorn with bow tie (it seems gender stereotypes exist among legendary creatures, too). Waring’s childlike art is a candy-colored explosion, with big-eyed critters, both legendary and real, all with chunky, toddler-esque physiques. While the verse is nothing new (“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” has arguably been rewritten more than any other children’s song) and there is little substance, it scans and sings relatively easily. Youngsters will be drawn to the sparkly rainbow on the cover.

For the youngest of unicorn fanatics; others may want to look for their magic elsewhere. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3973-3

Page Count: 7

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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