A nonessential addition to the evening storytime stack.

READ REVIEW

EVEN SUPERHEROES HAVE TO SLEEP

Everybody needs to sleep.

Superheroes, doctors, construction workers…they all need sleep. So do princesses, pirates, and scientists. Every time they turn the page little readers will see an adult role model submitting to slumber’s call. The final pages are dedicated to two children going to bed. The text is formed with quartets in an (occasionally stumbling) aabb rhyme scheme that details each character’s day before bedtime: “Fixing owies big and small, / Broken bones from brother brawls, / Giving every patient their best, / Even doctors need to rest.” The commercial-looking illustrations employ muted colors that will ease little readers to restful states when coupled with the rhyming pattern. The compositions are clean with minimal line and large swaths of color. The range of occupations is commendable, but the diversity less so. There’s only one major nonwhite face here among the adults (a black police officer) and just three women (a doctor, a princess, and a mother). The doctor treats a brown-skinned child, but the two children that stand in for readers are both white. The trade edition includes a “sleep reward chart” and stickers for little ones who need encouragement; both features are absent from the library edition.

A nonessential addition to the evening storytime stack. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55806-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Helpful for the right child-adult pair or group.

THE BIG BOOK ABOUT BEING BIG

A multiracial cast of children demonstrates that “BIG is being the / BIGGEST YOU / that you can be.”

An Asian child rides a two-wheeler, a younger black child rides a bike with training wheels, and a white preschooler rides a tricycle as the book’s central question is introduced: “Are you BIG yet? / When, exactly, does BIG happen?” People who say that big is “measured / by years, or / weight, or inches” are “wrong.” The text continues, “BIG is BIGGER than that.” Big is being “bright” and “kind” and “an active citizen.” Big is being “a friend to the Earth” and “a friend to yourself.” And how will you know when you’ve become big? You’ll feel “a pride inside, / a feeling of goodness… / in your heart.” Scenes show the three children spending time with family, helping elders, teaching friends, growing a garden, and outgrowing training wheels. The final spread asks, “How many little ways can you think of to be… / BIG?” Fennell’s collage illustrations use a wide range of colors and patterns for a fun, if busy, effect. A lengthy, slightly redundant endnote lists things readers can do to “Choose to Be Big!” What this purposive conversation starter lacks in artistry it may make up for in utility. This is worth a try when redirecting children’s focus from things and abilities to relationships and character is the goal.

Helpful for the right child-adult pair or group. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9684-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Pickle Press

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun.

A IS FOR ANOTHER RABBIT

An obsessed narrator creates an alphabet book overrun with rabbits, much to the chagrin of an owl who wants to create a “proper, respectable” alphabet book.

The picture book begins, “A is for A rabbit,” an illustration of a large brown rabbit taking up most of the recto. The owl protagonist—presumably the co-creator of the book—points out that “rabbit” begins with “R.” “Yes, but “a rabbit” starts with A,” says the narrator, before moving on to “B is for bunny,” which, as the owl points out, is just another name for rabbit. Despite the owl’s mounting frustration, the narrator genially narrates several rabbits into existence on almost every single page, rendered with such variety that readers will find their proliferation endlessly amusing. The letter D, for instance, introduces readers to “delightful, dynamic, daredevil RABBITS!” (a herd of biker rabbits), and although the narrator says “E is for Elephant” (which momentarily satisfies the owl), the image depicts several rabbits poorly disguised as an elephant. Much to the owl’s chagrin and, ultimately, exhaustion, the narrator grows more and more creative in their presentation of their favorite animal as the picture book proceeds down a rabbit hole of…well, rabbits! Batsel’s debut picture book for readers already familiar with the English alphabet is funny and highly entertaining. The whimsical narrative and the colorful images make this an excellent elementary-age read-aloud.

Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun. (Picture book. 4-8)/p>)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Solid series additions that teach useful skills and the power of practice.

FREDA IS FOUND

From the I See I Learn series

Murphy’s I See I Learn visual learning series continues with two new titles for children that focus on the cognitive skill of name writing and strategies to stay safe when lost.

When Freda’s attention wanders to the toy store window, she stops to look, but her class keeps walking toward the firehouse. Lost, Freda must use all she has learned to help her teachers and classmates find her again. She stays calm, gets help from an adult and is able to tell that adult about herself—full name, address, phone number and school and teacher names. A final flow chart presents readers with these steps, and questions to the readers focus on “What if…” The scariness of being lost is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that most of the illustrations show the class within sight of Freda. In the simultaneously publishing Write On, Carlos (2011), Carlos asks his mom for help in learning to write his name. Over several days, readers can see that his practice is paying off as he progresses from being able to write “Car” to proudly writing his full name on paper, in sand and with chalk while his supportive friends watch. An alphabet chart at the bottom of many pages highlights the letters used to form the names, while the final question section asks readers what names they can write. The bright illustrations clearly show both the effort that Carlos is expending and his imperfect practice pages. 

Solid series additions that teach useful skills and the power of practice. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58089-462-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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