Preschoolers will giggle, and many a tired caregiver will secretly rejoice in knowing that other families also struggle with...

WHEN YOUR MONKEYS WON'T GO TO BED

From the When Your… series

A clever child uses sneaky tactics to lull two energetic monkeys to sleep.

Charged with getting her recalcitrant monkeys off to dreamland, a resourceful young girl concocts a series of games (go upstairs “without touching the floor!”), tactics (pretend to yawn so the monkeys will too), and projects (build a cozy tent in order to entice them into slumber) to accomplish the nightly ritual of bath, teeth brushing, stories, and bed. Although the girl eventually prevails, it’s not before she too conks out on the bedroom floor with the monkeys, an ending that drifts off a tad too placidly after such a lively beginning. Kids will enjoy the wry second-person narration and animated scenes of monkeys swinging from chandeliers and having feathery pillow fights, but it’s the grown-ups who have woken, sore and disoriented in floor tents of their own, who might have the most rueful of smiles. The predominantly white background sets off the thick-lined cartoon illustrations and draws attention to the brown and tan monkeys and the white girl’s gingery hair. Clever visual gimmicks—cameos from other animals from the When Your… series, books with such titles as The Count of Monkey Cristo—all add to the general sense of silliness.

Preschoolers will giggle, and many a tired caregiver will secretly rejoice in knowing that other families also struggle with bedtime-averse monkeys . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0565-3

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.

FIVE BLACK CATS

A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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