A superb execution of soporific shapes and sounds perfect for the bedside table.

SLEEPYHEADS

Sleepyhead readers explore a hushed woodland at dusk, where they discover animals nestled in their cozy places at bedtime.

Yawning little listeners will fall immediately and effortlessly into the rhetorical rhythms of this surefire good-night book. Gentle narration, soft exclamations and soothing “s” sounds surface again and again, streaming together sweetly. The earthy, mellow artwork, with its dusky greens and browns and thick linework, comforts too. Wan’s many circular shapes (all those radiant stars, the creatures’ rounded heads, ears, coiled bodies and tails—even dandelion seed-puffs and a lightning bug’s glow) recall the warm curve of a caregiver’s chest. Just when heavy-lidded listeners start to shut their eyes, they might notice a watchful crescent moon hovering on every full-bleed, double-page spread, reassuring them that all animals (and people) sleep under a shared sky. After visiting every bed in the forest (“We found all the little ones/ in trees, in holes, in caves./ We found all the sleepyheads/ in weeds, in reeds, on waves”), listeners enter a quiet house looking for one last sleepyhead—a baby already fast asleep in mother’s arms. That’s if they are still awake.

A superb execution of soporific shapes and sounds perfect for the bedside table. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2266-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.

THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!

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 good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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