From the Who's in Your Book? series

“Beary” cute and endearing; a bedtime charmer.

Can you bear a cute bedtime story?

A night-capped brown bear stars in this adorable interactive story intended to help parents lull their little ones to sleep. Turns out those little ones are supposed to get Bear ready for a peaceful night’s slumber. The diminutive ursine is first introduced as having had a “big picnic.” Now a “very full and very tired” Bear needs a bath. This requires youngsters to shake the book vigorously to ensure Bear gets his tub “super-duper-bubbly.” Readers are invited to pop the bubbles, then to “FLAP the book like a fan” to towel Bear off. Just as Bear drifts off, youngsters having aided this effort by rocking the book, a blue monster wakes Bear up—and kids are urged to manipulate the book and perform other activities—e.g., wagging a finger, yawning, imagining five sheep, then singing them a lullaby—before Bear and a now-well-behaved Monster (and most of the sheep) finally settle down for the night. Children will be thoroughly entertained by these humorous shenanigans and, parents can only hope, feel pooped enough to easily drop off to sleep themselves, having dispatched Bear and company snugly off to dreamland. The sweet, colorful, lively illustrations incorporate large, capitalized onomatopoeic words and “instructions” for maneuvering the book; set in various fonts, these heighten visual interest and the fun. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

“Beary” cute and endearing; a bedtime charmer. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780593703991

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023



Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016


Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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