An educational, if overlong, bedtime story set in nature.

Bridgman’s illustrated children’s book offers readers an alphabetic walk through the four seasons in Manitoba, Canada.

In this ABC primer, each letter of the alphabet is highlighted in a sentence referencing a detail of a particular season, such as summer’s “T is for tennis—win, tie or lose,” and winter’s “H is for hot chocolate, for your tum-tum-tummy.” The letters X, Y, and Z remain the same for every season. X is for XOXO (“hugs and kisses, just for you”), Y is for yawn, and Z is for ZZZzzz (“Sweet dreams, sleep tight / good night, good night!”). Young readers will find it helpful that each occurrence of the letter is highlighted in a different color than the rest of the sentence text. The typeface is easy to read, and each double-page spread presents a rhyming couplet, which will be a helpful tool for early readers. Some lines feel slightly awkward and may require context regarding the real-life Victoria Beach area, such as “G is for Gate—gazed from afar,” which may be a bit confusing unless the reader already knows the specific gate described. Overall, the book’s length causes the story to feel disjointed; a stronger narrative arc or consistent characters could have created a better flow, or the work could have been split into four separate books. Bridgman’s painterly illustrations don’t follow a narrative arc or share many common elements aside from the setting of Victoria Beach. They are whimsical, however, and often feature anthropomorphized animals. Jackrabbits—the inspiration for the book, according to an author’s note—appear frequently; one is even dressed up as a ghost to celebrate Halloween with some jack-o’-lanterns. A few humans with varying skin tones pop up every now and again.

An educational, if overlong, bedtime story set in nature.

Pub Date: April 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-03-913270-2

Page Count: 120

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2022


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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