Stronger in dreamy cuteness than in astronomical facts. Better bedtime books abound

SLEEPY SOLAR SYSTEM

A sleepy sun says goodnight to nine planets and other solar system inhabitants.

From Mercury to Pluto, planets dutifully, and mostly cheerfully, prepare for bed. Sister Venus dons her nightgown; Mother Earth, with hair in rollers, wears pajamas. Grumpy Mars takes a shower; Jupiter scrubs his spot, etc., on to “Teeny Pluto (not to miss)," who wants "one more hug and kiss." In backmatter, Pluto is correctly identified as a dwarf planet, but other dwarf planets aren't mentioned. Asteroids appear between Uranus and Neptune in the story; the asteroid belt, usually shown between Mars and Jupiter is missing in the backmatter map. An additional science half-truth is the assertion that Venus can be seen in the sky at night; like the other Copernican planets, Venus may be seen in the evening, night, or early morning depending on the time of year. Couplets, mostly in rhyme, make up the text, but readers-aloud may find the rhythm bumpy. Sometimes there are four beats to a line; sometimes three. Set on a black background, Cenko's appealing, digitally created images seem perfect for animation. The globe of each planet becomes its face; two arms and a nightcap complete the image. (Before his shower, Mars has a baseball cap and a dog.)

Stronger in dreamy cuteness than in astronomical facts. Better bedtime books abound . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-936669-49-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Put on those gardening gloves; the fruits of this labor beckon.

THE LITTLE GARDENER

From the Teenie Greenies series

A young girl watches her garden grow.

Though she's a bit older than the typical board-book audience, her self-reliance makes her an appealing character for toddlers struggling to assert their independence. The strategic use of sturdy flaps provides both peekaboo fun and structure to the storyline. “Yellow daisy. / Red rose. / A bud blooms. / [lift flap] A flower grows.” Some of the interactive elements clearly connect objects to one another (shovel, pail), while other pairings review the progress of the blossoming outdoors. The child enjoys the results of her hard work (smelling a flower has never been so sweet) and waters her lush plants with her pint-sized watering can. Varied vocabulary extends the text. “Harvest carrots / . . . squash and peas. / [lift flap] Pollinated by the bees.” Perhaps due to their having been printed on recycled paper with soy inks, the matte sides of the flaps tend to be darker than the rest, which are glossy.

Put on those gardening gloves; the fruits of this labor beckon. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-93041-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

A visually striking, compelling recollection.

FROM THE TOPS OF THE TREES

The author recounts a formative childhood experience that continues to inspire her today.

Born to Hmong refugees, Kalia has only ever known the confines of the Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand. Even while playing with her cousins, reminders of the hardships of their life are always present. She overhears the aunties sharing their uncertainty and fear of the future. They are a people with no home country and are still trying to find peace. Kalia asks her father why they live behind a gate and wonders what lies beyond the fences that surround the camp. The next day they climb a tall tree, and he shows her the vast expanse around them, from familiar camp landmarks to distant mountains “where the sky meets earth.” This story of resilience and generational hope is told in an expressive, straightforward narrative style. The simplicity of the text adds a level of poignancy that moves readers to reflection. The layered and heavily textured illustrations complement the text while highlighting the humanity of the refugees and providing a quiet dignity to camp life. The militarylike color palette of olive greens, golden yellows, and rich browns reinforces the guarded atmosphere but also represents the transitional period from winter to spring, a time ripe with anticipation and promise.

A visually striking, compelling recollection. (author's note, glossary, map.) (Picture book/memoir. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8130-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Toddlers and young preschoolers, both independently and in groups, will enjoy both the guessing game and the simple,...

WHO ARE WE?

AN ANIMAL GUESSING GAME

An engaging, lift-the-flap riddle book that will keep little ones guessing.

The left side of each double-page spread offers a short, rhyming couplet describing a certain type of animal’s movement. For instance, the book begins with: “When we move, we are pretty slow. / Waddling keeps us warm in snow.” On the right side of the page is the question “Who are we?” printed atop a flap. On the edge of each flap is a tab with an arrow as well as a clue to the riddle’s answer. In this case, readers see orange, webbed feet and a white body. Simply lifting the flap reveals the word “Penguins” and three penguins who appear to be waddling across the page, but pulling on the tab in the direction indicated by the arrow reveals a hidden gatefold with another penguin scene and a fun fact: “We penguins have feathers to keep us dry and warm!” In addition to the penguins, readers see giraffes, snakes, arctic foxes and leopards. The rhyming riddles are amusing but not easy; children will need help from the clue on the tab to guess the answers. The appealing illustrations feature frolicking animals and uncluttered, skillfully rendered landscapes.

Toddlers and young preschoolers, both independently and in groups, will enjoy both the guessing game and the simple, interesting animal facts this offering provides. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-46762-9

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more