In the crowded field of bedtime books, this is a very sweet nighttime send-off for the littlest yawners.

LITTLE SLEEPYHEAD

After a full day, the very young appreciate a hushed yet lively bedtime book to prepare for the evening ritual.

Lilting rhymes and charming, soft-edged illustrations in muted tones depict a variety of happy multiethnic and intergenerational families in this gentle ode to sleepyheads everywhere. Adorable, rosy-cheeked crawlers and new walkers of both genders are shown having a jolly, busy and very tiring day with an array of significant others, including loving pets; each body part has become totally exhausted by the day’s many activities. The warm text is easy enough for parents, older siblings, grandparents and other caregivers to memorize and dramatize; indeed, the text practically demands it. Try holding still while reading “Tired little arms, stretching up so high, // Tired little hands, waving bye, bye, bye.” Acting out these lines and, additionally, “Tired little toes, wiggling one to ten,” for example, will promote language development and prove great fun for babies and young toddlers to mimic. While the line “Tired little tummy, full of yum, yum, yum” sounds a tad twee, tiny listeners will love it and understand completely.

In the crowded field of bedtime books, this is a very sweet nighttime send-off for the littlest yawners. (Picture book. 9 mos.-2)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16240-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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