The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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HOP ALONG BOO, TIME FOR BED

A lullaby sends Belle and her stuffed bunny, Boo, off to sleep.

The book opens with the sentient toy Boo stargazing from a treehouse window while Belle, a white girl with a brown bob, sings a lullaby. She’s in pajamas and ready for bed herself. It becomes unclear whether the ensuing text is in her voice or an omniscient narrator’s as she and Boo make their way to dreamland though a variety of settings evoked by the rhyming verses. Succeeding double-page spreads show scenes of a diverse group of children parading off to bed, with Belle and Boo always present. Some settings in this British import show a mismatch between text and art (“cowboys way out on the prairie” are in a cactus-studded desert), while others disappointingly reinforce stereotypes: a scene about dancers seems to omit all boy characters except for a single blond, white boy at center stage while nine girls stand in the wings, and then tipis show up in a nighttime scene with the children reading around a campfire surrounded by tents of many sorts. There’s no call from the text for their inclusion nor any cultural specificity that suggests a Plains Indian presence or context, which problematically renders the structures playthings verging on fantastic props. Throughout, the rhyming text seems a bit drawn-out, and illustrations verge on the saccharine.

A snooze. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-40833-708-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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This farm book doesn’t make it to the top of the haystack.

A DAY AT THE FARM

Three cute Caucasian kids pull on their brightly colored rain boots and head to the car for a trip to the farm with Mom and Dad.

As well as identifying all the buildings and different parts of the farm, the kids get to hang out with the animals, feeding ducks and chickens, collecting eggs, picking tomatoes, milking the cow, picking fruit, petting a donkey, playing in the hay, driving a tractor and stopping for a relaxing country picnic. The brightly colored pages illustrating their inevitable adventures (stepping in the muck; being chased by a goat) are interspersed with cleanly drawn vocabulary pages showing pond animals and plants, fruits, vegetables, crops and farm machinery. Neatly done, although not outstanding among the vast number of picture books with similar intent, this picture book feels a bit like paint by numbers, and some parents may be prone to an extra yawn or two at bedtime. However, the flat, bright colors and clear, readable text will be attractive to the very young. Parents and children will like the board book’s rounded corners. Folks in rural areas should be aware that one picture shows a child sitting on an untacked pony’s back.

This farm book doesn’t make it to the top of the haystack. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-926973-76-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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