A lovely, humorous exploration of all the things that keep us up at night.

GO TO SLEEP, MONSTER!

George can’t seem to go to sleep.

“There’s a monster under the bed!” George’s sister, Anna, peeks under his bed. When a monster pops out wearing a sheepish grin, Anna knows just how to help out her little brother. “Monster,” Anna scolds, “stop scaring my brother! It’s time to go to sleep!” The monster under George’s bed, however, can’t sleep either. He’s afraid of the monster under the bedroom floor. In no time at all, Anna tells the monster under the floor to stop all the scaring and to hit the hay. “I wish I could sleep, but I can’t!” says the monster under the floor. Another monster lies awake in the room right below his. In this absurd and hilarious nighttime romp, readers meet a full range of charming beasts of many different shapes and colors (both children are white). Cornell gives each monster shades of personality and humor through facial gestures and bizarre body details. Blues and purples dominate almost every illustration, accentuating each burst and fleck of light. As Anna and George (and the growing list of monsters the siblings befriend) find more and more monsters hiding under tables, gravel, and dirt, they move further and further into the center of the Earth, where the last monster resides. This journey ends on a comforting note.

A lovely, humorous exploration of all the things that keep us up at night. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234915-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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