Brightly colored bedtime rhyming book with a lackluster plot, helped by visuals in a detailed dreamscape.

READ REVIEW

Dreamadillo: A bedtime rhyme

What do armadillos dream about? Perhaps being a Dreamadillo who brings good dreams to children—a sweet invention to comfort young readers in this intriguingly illustrated debut by author/illustrator Bevan.

A sleeping armadillo dreams of leaving behind his simple yet safe brown armor for a bright-green hot air balloon and purple skin. From there, this picture book shows young readers a world full of chaotic dream bubbles: fish wearing top hats on their bicycles, little girls sailing boats on rainbow seas, children and giraffes and elephants flying in planes, and unicorns wearing roller skates while eating lollipops. Dreamadillo matches the right dream to the right child, so that every child in an appealingly diverse mix will have a good night’s sleep. Dreamadillo also traps nightmares to keep them from terrorizing the children he protects. But even Dreamadillo has enemies: Buttons the Buzzard and Tricky the Snake, depicted as sock puppet–like creatures, steal dream jars from Dreamadillo’s shelves. With help from readers—who are encouraged to tell the pair of bandits, “You can’t steal MY dreams!”—Dreamadillo wraps up the pair in rainbow bindings, sharing the book’s final secret: readers have the power to make their own real-world dreams come true “with practice, and patience, and just enough might.” The fantastic illustrations, in a mix of photographlike and cartoonish images, are the real draw here. In the final pages, children float like butterflies on wings created from their quilts, all while blowing bubbles filled with their own dreams for the future. Colors are bold and bright throughout, and Dreamadillo’s comfortingly cartoon shape set against the computer-generated textures and realistic-looking children’s faces makes for a dreamlike juxtaposition. Bevan’s book is an excellent jumping-off point for parents or caregivers to talk about dreams with lap readers, particularly since each image gives readers plenty of details to look at while they listen.

Brightly colored bedtime rhyming book with a lackluster plot, helped by visuals in a detailed dreamscape.

Pub Date: July 12, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 17

Publisher: Mindtwirl Studio, LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2015

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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