From the Pull and Play series

Although it’s been done before, this simple book models an ideal bedtime routine for both children and caregivers.

Originally published in France, this basic board book with sturdy tabs details those moments at the end of the day.

Each double-page spread offers a muted dark background with an inset picture showing an animal parent and child, with the little one already tucked in. “Time for bed, my little crocodile!” “No, no, Daddy. Hold me, please!” Spread by spread, the text details the many excuses before bedtime. The little kangaroo wants Mommy to stay, the little bear can’t find her bunny, the little cat wants to keep playing. To each plea, the animals’ parents (alternating mother and father) lovingly reassure their offspring with patience and compassion. “Okay, just one last hug. But don’t get out of bed”; “Don’t worry, little monkey. I’ll leave the door open”; “Go to sleep and you will have lots of energy to play tomorrow.” The colorful retro-styled illustrations show each child already in bed with toys and books around the room and parent waiting; pull the sliding tab, and the child is magically fast asleep. The last double-page spread has a pale yellow background and shows all the parent-child pairs the next morning, hugging each other. Each family is made up of the same animals.

Although it’s been done before, this simple book models an ideal bedtime routine for both children and caregivers. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-2-74598-177-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017


A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020


From the Little Blue Truck series

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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