With the glut of sleepy-time stories out there, this offering does not bring much new to the bedside table

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JAMMY DANCE

Going to bed doesn’t rank high on most children’s lists of favorite activities, and Janni and Dockray’s attempt to transform the nighttime routine into a rollicking good time is something of a snooze.

Aided by their parents, a brother and sister end their bath and go through the steps of drying off, putting on their jammies, brushing hair and teeth and so on, until they go to sleep. The text is characterized by forced, rhyming verse that will likely leave parents stumbling to read it aloud—for example, “Don’t you know, takes two to untangle— / Mom’ll dance from any angle,” and “Dad is callin’, ‘Little folks-a. / Time to do the p.j. polka!’ ” Equally undistinguished art awkwardly eschews rules of anatomic proportionality and fails to settle in a particular style: Pictures are sketchy and loose in some elements and more controlled and representational in others, resulting in uneven execution. As the book ends, the siblings share the same bed even though the text has them “[s]nuggled close inside [their] beds.” This final misstep provokes confusion in an already flawed overall package.

With the glut of sleepy-time stories out there, this offering does not bring much new to the bedside table . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-374-33680-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Superlative silliness.

MY DAD IS AMAZING

Extol the virtues of parents in this and its companion volume, My Mom is Magical.

Each of these winning board books is dedicated to the respective, titular parent of the author-and-illustrator team, sisters Sabrina and Eunice Moyle, who together are the design studio Hello!Lucky. The over-the-top enthusiasm of these volumes may, therefore, be reasonably excused, as the creative team’s love for their subjects seems as sincere as it is hyperbolic. A series of wild metaphors and analogies celebrate Dad or Mom; the near-blinding bright colors and kinetic, even chaotic illustrations perfectly complement the exuberant text. “My Dad is cooler than a million Popsicles!” “My Mom is cuddlier than a mountain yak!” A friendly, hipsterized yeti that looks like an extra from Where the Wild Things Are plays Dad, while Mom is rendered as a sparkly unicorn with rainbow mane and tail—who strikes heroic poses. Descriptive phrasing ranges from sweet to laugh-out-loud silly: Dad, for example, is “funnier than a bunch of underpants!” Funny indeed! Each volume ends by switching voices to break the fourth wall: “Kid, you’re amazing” (or “magical”) “too!” Both books are visual treats, sure to engage with their brilliant hues and inventive (if occasionally stereotypical) images. Dad is imagined at one point as a masked, lucha libre wrestler, for example, and Mom teaches a classroom of owlets mathematical formulae in glasses and an “I [heart] Math” T-shirt. Families may want both books, or either, as applicable.

Superlative silliness. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2961-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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