This tidy little package could inspire an uptick in bedtime exuberance. Happily, another outing with Anna and company is...

SLEEP TIGHT, ANNA BANANA

From the Anna Banana series

A comics-inspired delight from France—the graphic-novel publisher’s first picture book—introduces an appealingly feisty girl to a U.S. audience.

Way past bedtime, Anna Banana’s engrossed in her book, finding it alternately “fascinating…frightening…hilarious…gripping.” Her six bleary stuffed toys try to sleep, but Anna’s loud guffaw startles them awake. Each critter—including Foxface, Whaley and Pingpong the penguin—tries to steal away for some shut-eye, only to be hauled back by Anna, who prefers being surrounded by her pals. Finally, she’s tired enough to turn out the light. But her sleepy entourage turns the tables, staging an impromptu musicale, a spirited group bed-jumping session and a running race. Anna protests vociferously, then apologizes to her “little peeps” for her belligerent behavior—and it’s lights out for all. Or is it? Roques’ cheery, translated text appears in word balloons. Dormal’s mixed-media illustrations, in borderless panels and spots (often four to a page), exude a cartoonish zeal. Illustrations on endpapers add to the narrative (though jacket flaps obscure too much of it). The toys’ impressive emotional range is deftly captured, and clever details (such as Whaley spouting when Anna startles the group awake) should amuse both parents and kids.

This tidy little package could inspire an uptick in bedtime exuberance. Happily, another outing with Anna and company is planned. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62672-019-0

Page Count: 28

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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