What could have been a calming bedtime story featuring the variety of things found in a library is spoiled by abrasive...

GOOD NIGHT, LIBRARY

Bedtime stories are plentiful, but this one is anything but tender and restful.

In rhyming verse two kids say good night to all kinds of library items. “Good night, library; / Darkness falls. / It’s sleepy time / For these great walls. // Good night, library. / You must be tired / From all the learning / You’ve inspired.” The litany of items the text wishes good night includes poetry and prose, plots, puppet stages, computers, carpet squares, fairy tales, characters, filing cart, and more. This being a fairly modern library, they also bid good night to board games and comic books, but if there is a 3-D printer or makerspace, it goes unremarked. The apparent intent of this homage to libraries is well and good, but the visual execution lacks charm. The cartoonish illustrations are garish double-page spreads that bleed off the pages, and the intensity of the colors makes the pages appear crowded. Exaggeratedly bug-eyed kids act out the rhymes; they are a diverse lot. The librarian, a white woman, wears her hair in a bun but otherwise looks pretty darn hip; she wears a droopy gray sweater, black jeans, and pumps.

What could have been a calming bedtime story featuring the variety of things found in a library is spoiled by abrasive artwork. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58536-406-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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The poems are, at best, lesser lights in the poetic firmament, but the pictures provide enough boost to get them off the...

A ROCKETFUL OF SPACE POEMS

Goofy cartoons featuring wildly baroque spacecraft and many-limbed aliens illustrate 26 poems, nearly all new and out of—or at least off—this world.

J. Patrick Lewis explains how long it would take to drive to the moon in “your average car”; Eric Finney firmly misdirects a Mars-bound UFO toward Venus; editor Foster himself writes from the Space Hotel that “Space-worms are delicious / And the chef says they are quite nutritious”; and Liz Brownlee introduces hapless alien tourist “Flurp Blurp”: “I broke 3 legs on Mars whilst skiing, / 3 more on Saturn’s rings sightseeing!” They and other poets tally otherworldly food, monsters, sports, and visitors. Lewis is the best-known of the 17 contributors, but regardless of their creators’ recognizability, the verses (most of which are rhymed) roll along merrily, and Paul cranks up the silliness with page-filling views of garishly colored planets, tentacle-waving, googly-eyed extraterrestrials, and spaceships sporting many extravagant pipes and rivets. A closing handful of short foolishness (including Julie Holder’s verse knock-knock joke, with “A human being what?” as its punch line) makes for a particularly enjoyable send-off.

The poems are, at best, lesser lights in the poetic firmament, but the pictures provide enough boost to get them off the ground. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84780-486-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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The counting concepts and comedy make this a perfect 100th day read-aloud.

HUNDREDTH DAY DISASTER

The 100th day of school gets a lighthearted treatment in this debut rhyming picture book.

It’s the 100th day of school, but the class has only counted up to 93. The teacher is worried she’ll be fired, so the students put their heads together to figure out what days they missed. After recalling a number of chaotic days—the class pet’s escape, the field trip to the circus, the first snowfall, and more—the classmates arrive at a new total, but now they’ve hit 101. After the poor teacher faints, the students use all their counting strategies to add up the right number of days. The teacher shows her appreciation, and the class assures her: “You can count on us!” There is no shortage of books celebrating the 100th day of school, but Reistad, a librarian, captures perfectly how busy school days can escape a careful count—and how teamwork helps the students celebrate both the fun they’ve had and the class they love. The rhyming text flows smoothly and seamlessly integrates math vocabulary (“digit,” “sum,” “abacus”). Veteran illustrator Barber skillfully creates amusing illustrations, as seen in his Nobody Likes a Booger (2017), and here, that humor is particularly present in the teacher’s expressions and body language. The students are a diverse group ethnically, but they are identical in their positive attitudes and willingness to help their beleaguered instructor.

The counting concepts and comedy make this a perfect 100th day read-aloud.

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64343-987-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2020

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