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

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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

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A must-read for mothers of young children (and their kids, too).

MAMA NEEDS A MINUTE

The story shows all of the ways a mother loves and cares for her children while also needing to take care of herself.

Sloan writes what mothers feel: “This mama needs a minute.” There are books that prepare children for their first day of school, potty training, siblings, and many of life’s earliest milestones. In that tradition, Sloan’s book shows kids how mothers can both love and care for them and also need a little space. She writes, “It doesn’t mean I love you less. Sometimes it just means Mama needs to get dressed.” Truer words have never been written. Sloan simultaneously affirms a mother’s love while also deftly explaining that it’s OK for love to need boundaries—for parents, yes, but also for kids. The comics-style illustrations hit home, like the stubble-legged mama trying to snag a minute to shower. This goes beyond ringing chords with adult readers; it also provides concrete examples of when mama needs that minute. The palette includes pinks, greens, and bright blues, and all of the characters have skin of many nonhuman colors; hair is likewise fancifully colored but always straight. Many of the moms have visible tattoos, a refreshingly realistic detail.

A must-read for mothers of young children (and their kids, too). (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5248-5457-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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