A giggleworthy ode to creativity perfect for youngsters who have trouble saying good night.

Bedtime for Buzzy

When a boy refuses to go to bed, his toys encourage him to rest in this debut picture book.

Buzzy isn’t quite ready for dreamland. He’s in the middle of building a Moon Base with his toy Moon Man, finding hidden treasure with his pirate crew (which features a roguish teddy bear, a robot, and two construction workers alongside the appropriately named Captain Pirate), stomping with Giant Dinosaur, and searching for a lost city with Courageous Explorer and his mule. So when Buzzy’s dad says it’s bedtime, the boy’s immediate response is “NO!” But that shout starts a series of conversations with exhausted toys. Moon Man wisely quips, “However will we get the Moon Base finished without rest?” Captain Pirate and his crew are looking forward to more adventures—tomorrow, because they’re just too tired to find more treasure tonight. Even Giant Dinosaur needs a good night’s sleep before she can fulfill Buzzy’s stomping plans. The child’s last hope is Courageous: surely one toy still wants to play. But the explorer explains that the best way to find the City of Gold is in Buzzy’s dreams (“That’s the only way. We hope you’ll help us”). In this entertaining work, Hackworth delivers a clever twist on the usual good-night tale, and youngsters with active imaginations may respond with greater appreciation to toys explaining the value of sleep than to parents trying to impart the same lesson. The illustrations by Baptist, a fellow newcomer to children’s books, offer plenty of humorous details to keep kids poring over every page while never once depicting Buzzy himself and showing only his dad’s feet. This gives children the opportunity to visualize the family on their own. The toys aren’t as diverse as they could be: only Giant Dinosaur is a girl, and the majority of the human toys are white. The inclusion of the City of Gold narrative and spear-wielding natives (also white-skinned) remains problematic but is only touched on in passing. More obvious is the way Courageous’ mule flees from the snakes its owner seems to have not even noticed.

A giggleworthy ode to creativity perfect for youngsters who have trouble saying good night.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9977391-0-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Downtown & Brown Ventures

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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