NIGHT LIGHTS

In rhyming text, a little girl counts the lights in her room, in her house, in the surrounding neighborhood, and even in the night sky before she goes to bed. Each night, Melinda counts the lights that she can actually see—one seashell nightlight, five TV sets across the street—and the ones she can only imagine—nine pairs of raccoon eyes, 18 ships going out to sea, and finally, one million stars in the sky. (The text, though, concentrates on the numbers one to twenty). Some of the chosen lights seem to be reaching or overly arbitrary (“FIFTY pond-reflected moons”) or even hard to actually count on the page (“ONE HUNDRED lightning bars”). Some are downright cryptic (“TEN flashlights sweep the sky”), shows ten people shining flashlights into the night sky, making the reader wonder what, exactly, those people are doing out there. The palette of the illustrations is muted and even a little somber, as befits a book about nighttime and the contrast of light and dark, but some scenes are striking, using deeper blues and greens. Schnur (Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic, 1999, etc.) has written a perfectly fine concept book, and while it certainly is not breaking any new ground, it will be a welcome addition to the bedtime bookshelf. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2000

ISBN: 0-374-35522-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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I CAN BE ANYTHING!

A young boy wonders aloud to a rabbit friend what he will be when he grows up and imagines some outrageous choices. “Puddle stomper,” “bubble gum popper,” “mixing-bowl licker,” “baby-sis soother” are just some of the 24 inspiringly creative vocations Spinelli’s young dreamer envisions in this pithy rhymed account. Aided by Liao’s cleverly integrated full-bleed mixed-media illustrations, which radiate every hue of the rainbow, and dynamic typesetting with words that swoop and dive, the author’s perspective on this adult-inspired question yields some refreshingly child-oriented answers. Given such an irresistible array of options—“So many jobs! / They’re all such fun”—the boy in the end decides, in an exuberant double gatefold, “I’m going to choose… / EVERY ONE!”—a conclusion befitting a generation expected to have more than six careers each. Without parents or peers around to corral this carefree child’s dreams, the possibilities of being whatever one wants appear both limitless and attainable. An inspired take on a timeless question. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-16226-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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ONE BEAN

PLB 0-8027-8649-9 The simple life cycle of a bean provides a practical and understandable example of scientific observation for budding young naturalists. Starting with a hand shown holding a single bean, readers journey full circle from soaking, planting, and watering, to flowering, harvesting, and eating. Uncluttered three-dimensional artwork complements the short, simple text; each stage of the bean’s transformation from seed to vegetable is shown in large scale, drawn so realistically that the texture of the skin seems to show the strain as the bean gets ready to put down roots. This is an ideal book for classrooms where students can’t resist the temptation to keep “checking” on their bean plants. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8027-8648-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

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