A sweet, playful bedtime story with animal appeal.

THE BEST BED FOR ME

A young child’s imagination runs wild before bedtime.

It’s lights out, but energetic Sweet Pea, depicted with light-brown skin and straight hair, isn’t quite ready to go to sleep yet. Mama, a stout White woman, repeatedly tries to tuck them in, but they obstruct her attempts by chattering on about all the various ways they could sleep. Climbing up a bedpost, they declare that they want to sleep like koalas do, high up in trees. Hiding under their pillow, they pretend that they are dozing like a puffin in its burrow. Standing on their bed, they wonder if they can sleep upright like emperor penguins snoozing on rocks. After making their way through several more animals and their sleeping habits, Sweet Pea's stalling ends as they conclude that their bed is “the best bed for me.” Cornwall’s art, rendered in pencil and watercolor with a digital finish, uses a restrained palette of minimal, muted colors that adds a soporific feel to the narrative. The text is dialogue-heavy but flows easily and combines the humor of Sweet Pea’s bedtime antics with the tenderness of their relationship with their patient caregivers. The illustrations show that Sweet Pea has two moms, one of whom shares their skin color and hair color.

A sweet, playful bedtime story with animal appeal. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0715-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers.

THE INFAMOUS RATSOS

From the Infamous Ratsos series , Vol. 1

Two little rats decide to show the world how tough they are, with unpredictable results.

Louie and Ralphie Ratso want to be just like their single dad, Big Lou: tough! They know that “tough” means doing mean things to other animals, like stealing Chad Badgerton’s hat. Chad Badgerton is a big badger, so taking that hat from him proves that Louie and Ralphie are just as tough as they want to be. However, it turns out that Louie and Ralphie have just done a good deed instead of a bad one: Chad Badgerton had taken that hat from little Tiny Crawley, a mouse, so when Tiny reclaims it, they are celebrated for goodness rather than toughness. Sadly, every attempt Louie and Ralphie make at doing mean things somehow turns nice. What’s a little boy rat supposed to do to be tough? Plus, they worry about what their dad will say when he finds out how good they’ve been. But wait! Maybe their dad has some other ideas? LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books. Each of the first six chapters features a new, failed attempt by Louie and Ralphie to be mean, and the final, seventh chapter resolves everything nicely. The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers’ sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos’ “unwelcome” mat.

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7636-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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