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GOOD NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT, VICTORIA BEACH

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

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DIGGERSAURS

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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HEY, DUCK!

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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