With illustrations that are a feast for the eyes, this story embraces both adventure and bedtime for all the little merkids.


From the Ten Minutes to Bed series

Join a merchild as she swims through lush underwater scenes in an attempted bedtime escape.

In the newest title in Fielding’s Ten Minutes to Bed series, a mer-grandpa begins the bedtime countdown only to find little Splash missing. Like many children, mer and human, she doesn’t feel like sleeping yet. In the ensuing rhyming adventure, Splash leaps with dolphins, bravely dives deep beneath a wave, and joins a school of rainbow fish while sea creatures continue the countdown. “ ‘Seven minutes!’ called the crabs, / as they clacked their claws and feet.” When her tail tires, Splash bobs around the bay to rest until a shark’s looming shadow sends her hurrying to a peaceful beach. With only three minutes before bedtime, will Splash make it home in time? Luckily, a passing whale offers a ride. Splash careers through the ocean and swims into bed just as her grandpa calls the last warning. Finally, the adventurous Splash is happy to be home, for she has learned that “mermaids need their sleep!” Rich jewel-toned illustrations with brilliant coral reefs subtly become bluer—and cooler—as the story progresses. However, the text on several pages blends into the dark background, making reading a challenge. Splash and her grandpa have light brown skin, but Splash’s hair is black and his is white. Other merchildren are shown with dark hair and a variety of skin tones. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.45-by-22.84-inch double-page spreads viewed at 9.2% of actual size.)

With illustrations that are a feast for the eyes, this story embraces both adventure and bedtime for all the little merkids. (map) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-241-50231-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Ladybird

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Fans of the series will delight in seeing these favorites again, and Girl and Dragon should win some new ones.


A young girl and a dragon take their sweet friendship on an adventure.

After sharing the beginning and deepening of their friendship in Lovabye Dragon (2012) and Evermore Dragon (2015), Joosse puts this twosome on a journey to the high seas. Girl, forever sleeping in her same bed, dreams of sailing away. Dragon, snug in his lair, dreams of sailing with Girl. “Sometimes when friends share a heart / they dream the same thing, apart.” So they pack a wicker basket, a spyglass, and a banner and wave goodbye. The ocean provides plenty of interest with dolphins, whales, and Bad Hats with ratty beards (depicted as Vikings who differ only in the amount of their facial hair). There’s also a cat. The dreamy, highly textured oil pictures by Cecil in his signature palette of gentle grays, greens, and blues make the transition from land to sea seamlessly. With a tender nod to “The Owl and the Pussycat,” the scenery is full of diversions while the clever rhyming verse full of wordplay drifts the story farther from Home. The hazy images allow young minds to see this tiny princess with dark hair as racially ambiguous. As in many famous stories, one must leave home to find home, which is the same for these two loving friends. “With Dragon as boat / and Girl as crew / there was nothing—nothing—they couldn’t do!”

Fans of the series will delight in seeing these favorites again, and Girl and Dragon should win some new ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7313-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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