A midday bedtime book that will keep readers laughing.


Having a restful day of sleep proves difficult for Possum and his fellow night animals.

In Marino’s follow-up to Night Animals (2015), the search for “somewhere dark and quiet” to sleep doesn’t go easily for Possum. Readers meet Possum on the endpapers, as the marsupial is woken by a singing bird welcoming the new day. The problem? Possum is a night animal and must therefore sleep during the day. As Possum looks for a place to lay down his head and sleep, other nocturnal animals join the search. First, Skunk suggests a cave. Yet before even turning the page, the dangers that lurk there are visible to attentive readers. Soon Possum trails behind him a band of sleepy companions—skunk, bear, beaver, gray wolf—all night animals looking to catch some Z’s while the sun shines. As each suggestion proves inadequate, the group must escape the dangers they encounter. Escaping is sometimes hard, as Possum, doing what possums do, often plays dead, and his friends must carry his inert body along. Marino’s illustrations of Possum and company—struggling to stay awake, playing dead, and running for their lives—are hilarious and endearing, as is her dialogue. Beaver: “Oh, Possum! I am so sorry you’re dead!” Bear: “He does that sometimes.” Brief facts on the nocturnal animals depicted appear on the inside of the dust jacket.

A midday bedtime book that will keep readers laughing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-425-29065-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.


From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.


With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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