Though it sometimes threatens to veer too close to saccharine, the pairing of words and text in this book instead makes it a...

ROCK-A-BYE ROOM

As gentle a rocking rock-a-bye as anyone’s likely to find this side of the moon.

An electric guitar–playing mama sways her little one to sleep. As her toddler daughter puts her rocking horse, dollies, trains and blocks to bed, her mother urges the child to, “Say good night to the pictures / That hang on the wall,” along with everything in the room. Then it’s time for a bedtime story, and this dozy-eyed girl is down for the night. In the midst of their loving routine, the bedroom is transformed from everyday playroom to a place of sleepy-time magic. Though it attempts a rockabilly sensibility, there is little jumping or jiving to be had in this quiet little tale. The most rocking allusion may be an Elvis poster or perhaps a portrait displaying Little Boy Blue in seemingly blue suede shoes. In this way, Bates peppers the pages with sly allusions to classic nursery-rhyme characters, sometimes getting a bit too oblique for the intended readership.

Though it sometimes threatens to veer too close to saccharine, the pairing of words and text in this book instead makes it a real, if not rocking, bedtime treat. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0537-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Vibrant photographs—especially action shots—will capture children’s attention, build language skills and, one hopes, start...

FAMILIES

“We hope this book…will lead children and their parents to engage in conversation about their families.”

So begins this good-sized book, which is packed with photographs of families of many different sizes, shapes, ages and colors (although most wear casual clothing familiar to most American children). Bold, colorful type announces: “There are all kinds of families.” Engaging photographs throughout complement a simple text that informs readers about differences—such as big vs. small; genders and generations of parents; adoption vs. birth children. Positive similarities follow, as families get together for celebrations and family members help one another out and enjoy activities together. Only childless families are excluded, but that can be forgiven by the book’s noble, stated goal. Kelly adds an endnote to further encourage parents: “Recently, research psychologists have found that children who developed a strong family narrative from speaking with their parents about family history and hearing family stories, both good and bad, exhibited greater self-esteem….” As the photographs’ emotional spectrum covers the tiny range from cheerful to exuberant, it’s an open question whether this will encourage or inhibit truthful family-history revelations. However, the emphatic ending will certainly start a dialogue: “There are many different kinds of families. What about yours?”

Vibrant photographs—especially action shots—will capture children’s attention, build language skills and, one hopes, start conversations. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3053-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt.

LOVE YOU MORE

A love song from parents to their child.

This title will seem quite similar to the many others about parents’ deep love for their children. The text is wholly composed of first-person declarations of parental love, and it’s juxtaposed with illustrations of the child with one or both parents. It’s not always clear who the “I” speaking is, and there are a few pages that instead use “we.” Most sentences begin with “I love you more” phrasing to communicate that nothing could undermine parental love: “I love you more than all the sleepless nights…and all the early, tired mornings.” The accompanying pictures depict the child as a baby with weary parents. Later spreads show the child growing up, and the phrasing shifts away from the challenges of parenting to its joys and to attempts to quantify love: “I love you more than all the blades of grass at the park…and all the soccer that we played.” Throughout, Bell’s illustrations use pastel tones and soft visual texture to depict cozy, wholesome scenes that are largely redundant of the straightforward, warm text. They feature a brown-haired family with a mother, father, and child, who all appear to be white (though the father has skin that’s a shade darker than the others’).

It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0652-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more