While many children and lap readers will enjoy seeing a monkey learn the value of rest, this amusing tale of tired friends...

Putting Bungee to Bed

In this debut picture book, making a boy responsible for someone else’s sleep encourages him to respect bedtime.

Dark-haired Ben and his only slightly smaller, prehensile-tailed monkey, Bungee, are best friends. “They liked to do everything together,” including draw pictures, build block towers, and eat pancakes (debut illustrator Neptune shows their differences in taste as Bungee scarfs down his banana-laden breakfast and Ben carefully measures fruit and syrup atop his stack). But what the two love best of all is bouncing. Ben feels tired after a long day of bouncing, but Bungee is still full of energy. When the monkey won’t let Ben get a good night’s sleep, the boy wakes up feeling miserable. The two friends become increasingly irritable and get into more and more arguments. Ben thinks of ways to keep Bungee from bouncing at night and finally creates rules they both must follow. That night, when Bungee tries to bounce again, Ben reminds him of the regulations and takes him back to his own bed—but the monkey keeps trying. It’s an arduous process, but finally, Bungee and Ben get enough worthwhile sleep that they can happily bounce together again. Neptune’s evocative, child-friendly images are filled to the brim with emotion, whether it’s elated bouncing or passionate arguing. Her added details to the story flesh out the spare text and provide plenty of extra laughs for young readers. Family sleep expert Carr (Make Life Better for Seniors, 2013) keeps the words simple and uses bubbles to have the characters convey more difficult ideas. She has deftly mastered the vocabulary and pacing needed for this reading level. In the book design, the larger text size for certain words (“BUNGEE!” “COWABUNGA!”) delightfully emphasizes them in a play for both humor and effect. While this strategy may not work for every kid, the rules Ben devises should be useful for parents of stay-awake children, who can pretend that one of their stuffed animals is a Bungee-like companion.

While many children and lap readers will enjoy seeing a monkey learn the value of rest, this amusing tale of tired friends should aid parents in discussing the importance of sleep.

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-578-17607-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Off to Dreamland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.


A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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