THE DROWSY HOURS

POEMS FOR BEDTIME

A modest collection of 16 sleepytime poems, most of them dating from the first half of the last century, with gently surreal illustrations. The design is such that each two-page spread functions as a single unit, with the left-hand-side image or images facing the right-hand page of text. This allows the illustrator a free imaginative rein, so that some pictures are bizarrely fanciful and others gently straightforward; they reflect and enhance the poems in unexpected ways. The classic “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” which takes up four pages, plays a Victorian-inspired trio in their wooden shoe boat against a thoroughly modern mom in bare feet and chinos gazing at her babe in a trundle bed. Carl Sandburg’s “Baby Toes” (“There is a blue star, Janet, / Fifteen years’ ride from us, / If we ride a hundred miles an hour”) is paired with a female pilot holding sky charts and a small child sitting in the pilot’s seat of a bi-plane. Lilian Moore’s gorgeous “The Bridge” shows a boy looking out at a bridge from his window, having built bridges on the floor of his room with piles of books as suspension. The North Wind in Vachel Lindsay’s “The Moon’s the North Wind’s Cooky” is a startling, spiky figure with punk hair and bright blue shoes. The illustrator sneaks in the cover of another book he’s illustrated in the marvelous split-screen high-rise view for Norma Farber’s “Manhattan Lullaby.” This sophisticated collection does what it sets out to do, and should give bedtime readers food for dreams. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-688-16603-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2002

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THE NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...

WAITING FOR THE BIBLIOBURRO

Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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