A sweet rumination on family, home, and belonging.

NIGHT WALK

When a child struggles to fall asleep, a night walk with Dad around the neighborhood proves transformative.

Through the lit windows of the houses in her neighborhood—and in what appears to be a nearby, more urban area—the narrator gets a look at a shopkeeper who is grumpy by day but joyful by night and a Muslim family with hijabi female members having a cozy, late dinner. The unnamed protagonist marvels at how much happens all around town after bedtime. The child’s father recounts that when he was younger, he lived in a rural area where he could walk through the dark for miles without encountering anyone else. His observation makes the child reflect on the home they share and how everything that’s known and unknown about it—the day and the night, the friends and the strangers—contributes to a sense of belonging. The sparse, lyrical text lends the book a cozy, poetic quality that is both soothing and whimsical. The illustrations incorporate diverse body types, skin tones, and faith markers, and they represent a variety of homes ranging from two-story houses to apartment buildings. The book’s only flaw is that the text, while well written, meanders such that the story’s ending feels more like a surprise than a conclusion to the plot arc. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 65.1% of actual size.)

A sweet rumination on family, home, and belonging. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-55498-796-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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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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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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