“When my baby brother sleeps, I am very quiet.” But the young narrator also does his brotherly best to quiet other...

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SHHH!

Gorbachev charms in this salute to naptime.

“When my baby brother sleeps, I am very quiet.” But the young narrator also does his brotherly best to quiet other noisemakers. There is that clown whooping it up and the knights fighting and the plane buzzing and the train clanking and the pirates firing their cannons. “Shhh!” says the boy to each. But when baby brother wakes—drawn here by Gorbachev with a wonderful, round head and gaping maw, much in tune with the knight’s potato nose, the pirates’ bristly cheeks and the conductor’s walrus of a mustache—all the various characters can get back to business, only this time as the young boy’s toys. Gorbachev recreates the powerfully evocative atmosphere around naptime—the sepulchral hush, the strange amplification of the most minor sounds; readers can almost taste the afternoon’s doldrums. His drawings are both delicate and taut: The lines are fine, and the colors are like a blush, while the various characters have been caught in mid-act, now frozen but ready to move when the word is given.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25429-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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An ideal choice for sharing with preschoolers and anyone else who has a soft spot for lovable but goofy dads.

WHEN DADS DON'T GROW UP

Here is an unabashed celebration of dads who enthusiastically embrace their inner children. The results are endearing, sometimes embarrassing but most often hilarious.

Parker invites readers to witness the following silly behavior: “When dads don’t grow up / they understand that shopping carts are for racing… / that clothes don’t have to match… / and that pancakes weren't meant to be round.” Alley uses pen and ink, watercolors and colored pencil to show an abundance of humorous details in a series of vignettes that greatly extend the text. A stern grocery-store manager glares at dad and daughter sitting in the wreckage of their shopping-cart race; a professorial dad lectures in a mad combination of stripes, argyle and plaid. Preschoolers will see themselves and, one hopes, their fathers in the madcap situations that populate this title. Whether finding fun in popping bubble wrap, throwing stones in water, playing sports indoors or “getting their hair wet (if they still have any),” the four ethnically and occupationally diverse dads—a florist, a doctor, a businessman and a construction worker—obviously relish these experiences as much as their children do.

An ideal choice for sharing with preschoolers and anyone else who has a soft spot for lovable but goofy dads. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3717-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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Yet another celebrity picture book that will steal sales from far, far better ones.

YOU ARE MY HAPPY

As the day draws to a close, a parent bear recalls those events shared with their child that gratified them, from observing hatching nestlings to the stars that come out at bedtime.

The scansion works and the emotions expressed are sweet, but that’s the limit of this book’s achievement. Mason is unable to create a coherent visual narrative that explicates and expands on the nonsensical text, which opens and closes with a parental address to “my fuzzy one” but in between is unclear as to who is expressing the syrupy sentiments. The sequence of sentence fragments “For special friends who made me giggle / and silly songs that made me wiggle. // For space to play, for shade to rest, / for secret spots we love the best” is illustrated in two double-page spreads with images of the young bear first playing with a young raccoon and second intently observing a caterpillar. Although that implies the young bear is speaking, the iteration of the refrain that ungrammatically brings the sequence to a close—“That’s what made me happy”—seems to bring the narration back to the parent bear. But really, giving up on sense seems to be the best one can expect from a book with a title that inartfully co-opts an adjective as a noun.

Yet another celebrity picture book that will steal sales from far, far better ones. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288789-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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