A fine addition to the sleepy sheepy canon.

ONE SHEEP, TWO SHEEP

A tired rooster just wants to get to sleep…now if only he can count the sheep.

Rooster settles down in bed to count himself to sleep with the classic device of counting sheep jumping over fences. He gets as far as three, but then Chicken hurdles the fence. “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! A CHICKEN?! / I’m sorry, but this is serious bedtime business. / I count SHEEP, okay? Just sheep!” A few more sheep jump, but then Pig puts in an appearance. Again, Rooster tells the farmyard that all he wants to count is sheep. Three more sheep hop over, but then Cow (in crown and tutu) leaps the fence. “Cock-a-doodle-DO WE NEED TO REVIEW? / Counting SHEEP helps me sleep.” Still awake, the rooster gets as far as 10 sheep, but then seven chicks “cheep” outside his coop. Rooster sternly addresses each animal in turn; each tries bleating like a sheep, but he tells them what sound they should make. All seems to be in order…but then all the sheep jump into the lake with Duck with a “Quack!” The solution? All his non-ovine friends, dressed as sheep, jump over the fence to lull their friend to sleep. Sauer’s bedtime barnyard book will work well for a nighttime read, with the caveat that Cummings’ silly cartoons will incite giggles here and there. The wide-eyed, smiling critters and the deadpan humor are a good pairing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fine addition to the sleepy sheepy canon. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4630-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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