A practical technique, one many parents have found effective, presented with attractive illustrations.

TERRIFIED TOMMY

In this debut picture book, a boy’s parents find a way to help him when he’s too scared of monsters to go to bed.

Tommy, a young, brown-haired white boy, enjoys the things other kids do—baseball, the playground—but he’s afraid of bedtime. He puts off the routine as long as possible because he is convinced that monsters will get him. The sneaky things are never there when his parents look for them, waiting until later to terrify Tommy. While a night light helps, he still has to hide with a flashlight under the covers until he falls asleep. Then his parents get assistance from a pixie, who gives them a canister of spray that smells of lavender, which monsters hate. The next night, they spray their son’s pillow (“if a child does it, it does not work as well”), and Tommy’s monsters disappear. In his tale, Eastman doesn’t add much to the many books on nighttime fears and even on monster spray, but he includes some nice touches. That the parents are in charge of spraying means they’re entering the fray, and battling fears isn’t all on Tommy’s shoulders. The boy’s feelings are honored throughout in ways young readers should find reassuring. The images by debut illustrator Carson are a plus, nicely rendered with evocative details that portray Tommy’s emotions; the monsters are weird, but not too scary for children.

A practical technique, one many parents have found effective, presented with attractive illustrations.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4908-5514-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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