A touching gateway to Press Here and its many offspring.

CAN YOU PUT ME TO BED?

THE TALE OF THE NOT-SO-SLEEPY SLOTH

A wide-eyed little sloth solicits extra TLC getting to bed in this interactive snoozer.

A hairy, winsome tyke with huge googly eyes stares up fixedly at viewers while inviting them: to help with toweling off after a bubbly bath, to tap pajama bottoms that match the top, to join in a “slo-mo” sloth dance party, to turn lights on and off, to sing a favorite lullaby, to deliver a back rub, and finally to send the now-droopy drowser (“I’m still…not…sleepy…”) off to dreamland with a kiss. Sanitary considerations notwithstanding, younger yawners will definitely enjoy the role reversal and appreciate the little sloth’s constant protestations of wakefulness even as they recognize said assurances as blarney. Illustrations are simple and, for the most part, amusing; in one spread the sloth models hairstyles including 18th-century curls, a mohawk, a unicorn horn and a ponytail, and an Elvis-style pompadour. Some readers may find themselves creeped out by the staring eyes of the sloth and an entire shelf full of plush bedmates (for some reason the stuffed hedgehog scowls ferociously). Still, following all the tipping, tapping, shaking, and other participatory activities, little readers may better appreciate being on the receiving end during their own bedtime routines.

A touching gateway to Press Here and its many offspring. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72823-082-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.

FIVE BLACK CATS

A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween.

TEENY TINY GHOST

This board book twists the traditional “Teeny Tiny” tale into a less-scary Halloween treat.

This version uses a singsong-y rhythm and cadence to tell the story. “In the teeny tiny barn / Of a teeny tiny house... / Lived a teeny tiny ghost / and a teeny tiny mouse.” Of course the ghost (being teeny tiny) is not very frightening. “But the determined little ghost / Let her mighty courage through / And with a teeny tiny breath / She said a teeny tiny: boo.” Spoiler alert: After just seven page turns the ghost and mouse become friends: “And now the teeny tinies play / In the teeny tiny house. / Just a teeny tiny ghost / And her best friend, mouse.” Pumpkins decorate the cover and final spread and illustrations throughout are in autumnal hues. The fairly high-for-the-format word count—19 to 21 words per page—may be more than toddlers will sit still for, but the “teeny tiny” repetition and rhymes will help. The size (just 6 inches square) makes using the book with a group a challenge, but with a lap-sitting child, it’ll be a pleasure.

A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31848-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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