Probably best suited to families that already incorporate yoga and meditation into bedtime routines.



From the Feel-Good Fairy Tales series

Will the titular princess ever get to sleep?

In this purposive adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea,” the normally good royal sleeper, portrayed as a blue hippo, suddenly cannot fall asleep. Readers have seen that her younger brother (also a blue hippo) accidentally caused a pea to become lodged between her many mattresses. The princess usually assists the royal gardener (a white rabbit), bakes with the royal chef (a green gator), listens to the royal librarian (a brown bear) read, and stargazes with the royal astronomer, a snazzily dressed sloth. But after a couple “tossy-turny” nights, she is exhausted. Luckily, her friends have good advice. The gardener teaches the lizard pose, the chef demonstrates breathing, the librarian shows her how to rest her legs on the wall, and the astronomer talks about putting “each of [her] worries on a star, until with every sparkle, they disappear.” When the princess tries these meditation and yoga techniques, she finally falls asleep. Droll, colorful cartoon illustrations feature the animal characters in distinctive attire, with the sloth astronomer looking especially dapper. The sleep techniques are designed to work best at bedtime, and further information is provided in an author’s note. Unfortunately, as a story, its purpose overwhelms its narrative impact, though kids will enjoy the illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 25.3% of actual size.)

Probably best suited to families that already incorporate yoga and meditation into bedtime routines. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4587-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Too many bugs, figuratively.


Lucy, “the youngest member of a family of fireflies,” must overcome an irrational, moon-induced anxiety in order to leave her family tree trunk and glow.

The first six pages pull readers into a lush, beautiful world of nighttime: “When the sun has set, silence falls over the Big Forest, and all of the nighttime animals wake up.” Mixed media provide an enchanting forest background, with stylized flora and fauna eventually illuminated by a large, benign moon, because the night “doesn’t like to catch them by surprise.” Turning the page catches readers by surprise, though: the family of fireflies is decidedly comical and silly-looking. Similarly, the text moves from a lulling, magical cadence to a distinct shift in mood as the bugs ready themselves for their foray into the night: “They wave their bottoms in the air, wiggle their feelers, take a deep, deep breath, and sing, ‘Here we go, it’s time to glow!’ ” It’s an acceptable change, but more unevenness follows. Lucy’s excitement about finally joining the other bugs turns to “sobbing” two nights in a row. Instead of directly linking her behavior to understandable reactions of children to newness, the text undermines itself by making Lucy’s parents’ sweet reassurances impotent and using the grandmother’s scientific explanation of moonlight as an unnecessary metaphor. Further detracting from the story, the text becomes ever denser and more complex over the book’s short span.

Too many bugs, figuratively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-84-16147-00-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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