THE SANDMAN

For those who wonder how sleep comes, here’s the answer: It is due to the magical sand the tiny and daring Sandman, Tor, grinds from a dragon’s scale and sprinkles over sleepless children each night. While the mythical beast sleeps, the little old man braves the fire-breathing dragon’s lair, waiting for a chance to retrieve any scales that may pop off into the dust. Fletcher’s fantasy narrative fleshes out the familiar trope by combining worlds of fairy-tale-forest settings with average household bedtime environments. Much like a Santa Claus figure, each evening Tor rides through children’s bedroom windows on his miniature mouse-drawn button-wheeled cart to spread his sleep-inducing emerald sparkle-dust. Cowdrey’s deeply colored acrylics of flora, fauna, one frightfully greenish and nostril-smoking dragon, workshop scenes and angelically dozing children alternate with black-and-white images of a cherubic dimple-chinned bald and white mustachioed tiny gentleman hard at work. Bedtime fodder for the slightly older, wide-eyed and wakeful preschooler. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8050-7726-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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ON MEADOWVIEW STREET

While her father mows the lawn at her new house, Caroline wonders how it could actually reflect the street’s name. Soon she finds a small blossom growing in the grass, then another, and eventually persuades Dad to sell the mower while the yard grows freely with wildflowers. Adding a maple tree and a man-made pond attracts an assortment of wildlife from birds, to insects, to a mud turtle and a meadow mouse. Neighbors are encouraged to follow suit, creating meadow environments rather than pristine lawns. Full-color acrylic paintings in double-paged spreads of multiple shades of green, dotted with hues of summer flowers, tell this nature-lover’s story which suggests the possibility of chemical-free garden environments. Though the message will be missed by young children, most will enjoy a final rendering of all the meadow creatures next to their proper names that now live on Meadowview Street. Gentle persuasion for the naturalist in everyone. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-056481-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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THE LAST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Loewen’s story is a simple snapshot of kindergarten graduation day, and it stays true to form, with Yoshikawa’s artwork resembling photos that might be placed in an album—and the illustrations cheer, a mixed media of saturated color, remarkable depth and joyful expression. The author comfortably captures the hesitations of making the jump from kindergarten to first grade without making a fuss about it, and she makes the prospect something worth the effort. Trepidation aside, this is a reminder of how much fun kindergarten was: your own cubbyhole, the Halloween parade, losing a tooth, “the last time we’ll ever sit criss-cross applesauce together.” But there is also the fledgling’s pleasure at shucking off the past—swabbing the desks, tossing out the stubbiest crayons, taking the pictures off the wall—and surging into the future. Then there is graduation itself: donning the mortarboards, trooping into the auditorium—“Mr. Meyer starts playing a serious song on the piano. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to march”—which will likely have a few adult readers feeling the same. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5807-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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