Bucolic bedtime done right.

CLICK, CLACK, GOOD NIGHT

From the Click Clack Book series

Will Duck ever get some shut-eye?

“It is nighttime on the farm. / Everyone is tired. / It is time to relax, / unwind, and unplug.” Farmer Brown turns out the “cow light,” and the cows nestle down to sleep in the dark. He gives the sheep a brush, turns out the “sheep light,” and they start snoozing. The chickens need a night light, but they are ready to sleep too. Ever the contrarian, Duck, of course, needs some coaxing. Farmer Brown sings to him, reads to him, does yoga with him, even reads and discusses the top news stories of the day…but when Duck’s light goes out, Duck can’t sleep. (Farmer Brown is zonked in his rocker.) Duck tries sleeping with each of the other groups of farm animals, but no situation is exactly right. Duck finds a nice place under a tree—but “Chit, chat, chitter”: The bats keep him awake. By the pond, the frogs keep him up. Duck knows a good place to sleep…so when the elderly White farmer finally makes his way to bed, he finds he has a bunkmate. Some may be surprised this duo hasn’t done a good-night book before now; this will satisfy fans and work as a bedtime story for anyone who doesn’t know the series (if such exists). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-15.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 71.3% of actual size.)

Bucolic bedtime done right. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5108-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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