A sweet and simple look at bedtime in the Western world


From the Get Ready Board Books series

This wordless going-to-bed board book is a cozy way to end the day.

First published in Spain, the story follows a light-skinned, ethnically ambiguous child through the bedtime routine. Children from Western countries will no doubt recognize the protagonist’s nighttime ritual as a mirror of their own, including bathing in a bathtub full of water and bubbles, using a Western toilet, and brushing teeth in front of a bathroom mirror. The child’s adult caregiver is a loving secondary presence, there to wash the child’s hair, read a bedtime story, and banish the monsters from under the bed—without ever drawing attention away from the child. Although the protagonist ends the book wearing pink pajamas and a barrette, laudably, both the child and the adult can be read as gender neutral. The ink-and-watercolor drawings employ a soothing, pastel palette ideal for creating a cozy, going-to-bed atmosphere. The images are full of movement and joy, and they provide the faintest outline of plot. However, the large amount of white space may hinder the book’s appeal for repeated readings: It only takes a few reads to notice all of the details, and the lack of visual intricacy may limit possibilities for creative storytelling, something that is particularly important for image-only texts like this one.

A sweet and simple look at bedtime in the Western world . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3181-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end.


From the Big Kid Power series

This book seeks to use the power of persuasion to vanquish that most formidable of opponents: toddlers.

In this entry in the Big Kid Power series, a little black girl makes no bones about the fact that pacifiers (or “binkies”) are strictly baby territory. When she was little she needed one, but that was then. Whether she’s tired, sad, or hungry, there are other ways of being comforted: hugs and polite requests, for instance. After she gives her binky to a baby and bids it a very clear goodbye, the book ends with a triumphant, “I’M A BIG KID!” Using a striking color combination of orange, brown, and black, van Lieshout keeps her pages bold and bright, complementing the simple vocabulary. Such declarations as, “Do I still have a binky? // NO, BIG KIDS DON’T NEED A BINKY. / NOPE!” leave scant wiggle room for argument. In her author’s note at the end, van Lieshout says that after speaking to many parents about how they helped their kids bid their pacifiers adieu, “many of them had in common…a ritual of some sort.” The ritual here seems to be giving the pacifier away, though it may be missed by many readers. Companion title I Use the Potty uses a similar approach, with a proud, white boy as its guide.

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3536-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility.


Make room, Doc McStuffins! Another young brown-skinned physician has arrived to attend to every ailment.

Dr. Zaza, who wears a pink-and-white–checked dress and an apron with a red cross on it, looks out at readers from the cover as she checks the heartbeat of a brightly colored, variegated-patterned stuffed rabbit—one of the many stuffed patients she takes care of throughout the book. Dr. Zaza checks Rosie the koala bear’s earache, Bobby the rabbit’s heartbeat, George the giraffe’s sore throat, Pinkie the bunny’s temperature, and Mo the snake’s scratch. When Mo requires a bandage, so does everyone else. And Dr. Zaza delivers. The protagonist’s deep brown skin and afro-puff hairdo offer a mirror for many readers of color and a window for others while also emphasizing that imaginative play around STEM professions should be the purview of children from every background. And even though Dr. Zaza cares only for stuffed animals thus far, her competence and willingness to help both suggest that medicine will likely be a good fit for her. The deeply-saturated, single-color backgrounds establish a warm and inviting mood for Dr. Zaza’s work, who seems more than content to help. Companion title Celebrate with Zaza finds Zaza in a more traditionally feminine role, coordinating Rosie’s birthday party.

A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-375-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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