“It was a dark and stormy night on Plum Street.” From this Bulwer-Lytton opening spins a comforting bedtime tale—owing not a little to another, more famous bedtime tale—of Sam the bear’s nighttime routine. In a well-rehearsed pattern, Mrs. Bear (dressed in a green cardigan) reads to Sam, tucks him in with his stuffed toys (one of which is very similar to a certain little rabbit from that famous bedtime tale), and gives him some milk, asking with each step if she has forgotten anything. Of course: kisses. Once delivered, Sam settles down at last “on a dark and stormy night on Plum Street.” Hest’s (The Friday Nights of Nana, p. 939, etc.) language is reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown’s in its enumeration of the minutiae of a small child’s bedtime rituals: “Mrs. Bear sat on the bed beside Sam and they read his favorite book and they both knew all the words.” The storm makes its presence felt within the text—“Outside the rain came down. Splat! on the roof”—but the coziness of the story protects Sam and the reader from the elements. Jeram’s (All Together Now, 1999, etc.) bright, acrylic, full-bleed illustrations focus on Sam’s bedroom, with its warm, yellow walls and big, green bed, the storm mostly relegated to glimpses through the window. A cute, even sweet, bedtime story, with text and illustrations that work well together, but really, do we need another Goodnight Moon? (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7636-0780-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young...


This title previously published in the U.K. takes a cozy look at all kinds of kisses.

Walsh’s rhyming text is full of cutesy rhythms: “Kisses on noses, kisses on toes-es. Sudden kisses when you least supposes.” Sometimes the phrasing stumbles: “Who likes to kiss? I do! I do! Even the shy do. Why not try, too?” But toddlers and young preschoolers will probably not mind. They will be too engaged in spotting the lively penguin on each spread and too charmed by Abbot’s winsome illustrations that fittingly extend the wording in the story. Patient dogs queue up for a smooch from a frog prince, cool blue “ ’normous elephants” contrast strikingly with bright red “little tiny ants” and a bewildered monkey endures a smattering of lipstick kisses. Be the kiss small or tall, one to start or end the day, young readers are reminded that “the very best kiss… / is a kiss from you!” Perhaps no big surprise but comforting nonetheless.

Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young tyke or sharing with a gathering for storytime.     (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2769-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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