Probably best suited to families that already incorporate yoga and meditation into bedtime routines.



From the Feel-Good Fairy Tales series

Will the titular princess ever get to sleep?

In this purposive adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea,” the normally good royal sleeper, portrayed as a blue hippo, suddenly cannot fall asleep. Readers have seen that her younger brother (also a blue hippo) accidentally caused a pea to become lodged between her many mattresses. The princess usually assists the royal gardener (a white rabbit), bakes with the royal chef (a green gator), listens to the royal librarian (a brown bear) read, and stargazes with the royal astronomer, a snazzily dressed sloth. But after a couple “tossy-turny” nights, she is exhausted. Luckily, her friends have good advice. The gardener teaches the lizard pose, the chef demonstrates breathing, the librarian shows her how to rest her legs on the wall, and the astronomer talks about putting “each of [her] worries on a star, until with every sparkle, they disappear.” When the princess tries these meditation and yoga techniques, she finally falls asleep. Droll, colorful cartoon illustrations feature the animal characters in distinctive attire, with the sloth astronomer looking especially dapper. The sleep techniques are designed to work best at bedtime, and further information is provided in an author’s note. Unfortunately, as a story, its purpose overwhelms its narrative impact, though kids will enjoy the illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 25.3% of actual size.)

Probably best suited to families that already incorporate yoga and meditation into bedtime routines. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4587-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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An interesting premise but the execution is underwhelming.


Stella hates going to bed, so she and her best buddy attempt to prevent the sun from setting.

Imaginative Stella, a young Black girl with Afro puffs, misses her friend Kamrynn, a light-skinned, straight-haired girl who has moved to “the other side of the world.” Luckily, Stella still has her best pal Roger, a blue hippo stuffie. Neither Stella nor Roger like sleeping: “Why do we have to miss all the fun and go to bed just because it gets dark?” Deciding that “if it never gets dark, then we can stay awake forever,” the duo work tirelessly to “keep the sun awake.” They play loud music, shine flashlights at the sun, and even make various attempts to launch a cup of coffee up to the celestial orb in hopes that caffeine will keep it alert. Eventually, the pair quit when they realize that if the sun never sets for them, morning can never come for Kamrynn, who wakes up when they go to bed. Despite the book’s sweet touches, the narrative is weakened by some meandering irrelevancies that make the plot feel disconnected. Also, at the beginning of the story, Stella seems enamored of the moon—she wishes she could jump high enough to kiss it—yet she and Roger spend the bulk of the book trying to prevent nightfall; this discrepancy may give some readers pause. The digital, cartoonlike illustrations are bright, colorful, and cheerful but don’t make up for the shaky plotting.

An interesting premise but the execution is underwhelming. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8785-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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