NO MORE NAPS!

A STORY FOR WHEN YOU'RE WIDE-AWAKE AND DEFINITELY NOT TIRED

Can a book about napping be a lively story? Why, yes. Meet Annalise.

Middle-grade novelist Grabenstein, perhaps best known for the Mr. Lemoncello’s Library series, turns to picture books in this story of a spunky toddler who prefers shrieking to napping. Her weary father pushes her through town in a stroller, hoping it will lull her to sleep. The two discover that the townspeople, one by one, are more than happy to “take” Annalise’s nap in her stead. Everyone stops in their tracks to get some shut-eye while Annalise is “the only one in the whole wide sleepy world who would not fall asleep.” When she’s finally ready to, she can’t; “all the naps had already been taken!” Cue more shouting: “I WANT TO TAKE A NAP!” Grabenstein writes chummily, often directly addressing readers (“Do you know anyone like that?”). The book’s display type plays with font size and color to accentuate Annalise’s wails, and Espinosa fills the retro illustrations, reminiscent of mid-20th-century classics, with funny details, including snoozing pigeons, fish, and ducks. Preschoolers will find the defiant protagonist’s protests a little bit thrilling and 100% funny. Delightfully, the front endpapers feature a large, red “WAAAAAH!”; the closing ones, a small, blue “Shhhh” after the girl has finally, mercifully closed her eyes. Annalise and her family have pale skin; Espinosa depicts a diverse group of townspeople who will gladly take her naps for her.

Screamingly fun. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7128-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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