From the Child's Play Library series

Little Monster isn’t ready for bed. What can Big Monster do?

“You must be tired after your big day,” says Big Monster. “No, I’m not,” replies Little Monster. “My knees have lots of bounces in them.” And so the battle begins. “Show me,” Big Monster says, with a snaggle-toothed smile. Big Monster’s turquoise blue, with orange-striped horns and a nose that resembles a child’s drawing of an evergreen tree. Little Monster’s a golden yellow, with a nose that resembles a cotton boll. Little Monster jumps on a trampoline but doesn’t get tired. “My bottom wants to wiggle-jiggle.” “Show me,” is Big Monster’s reply. Still to come are swinging, rolling around, and frolicking in a frothy bubble bath. Finally it’s almost bedtime, but Little Monster’s feet aren’t tired; they “have jumps inside them.” Little Monster jumps like a jack-in-the-box, then needs to take a last zoom around the room, arms extended like an airplane, finally settling in Big Monster’s lap. But still, the eyes aren’t tired. Big Monster (who is beginning to look pretty fatigued) leads Little Monster in an exercise: “Open, shut…shhh.” And so to bed. Hunter avoids pronouns, so the monsters can be gendered any way readers choose. Bowles makes Little Monster appropriately sassy and energetic, and if caregivers are as tired as Big Monster after all Little Monster’s antics, well, that’s a welcome kind of realism.

Simply sweet. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84643-985-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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