The story cries out for an overpowered reading, which is as likely to provoke a brawl as laughter.

FAIRY TALE PETS

A bevy of fairy-tale creatures descend on a newly minted and totally unprepared petsitter.

Young Bob, who wears a Peruvian hat and has freckled, light-brown skin, and his purple dog, Rex, live “on a nice neat hill, in a nice neat house, with neat roses.” But Bob and Rex are “very, very poor.” Since their neighborhood is overrun with pets, they decide to become petsitters. They advertise: “NO PET TOO BIG.” Mistake. With the morning comes their first customer, a little golden-haired, white girl who wants them to look after her baby bear. The bear is a complainer: someone’s been into his porridge, sat in his chair, and slept in his bed—but that’s Rex’s bed, which he breaks. “Ding Dong!” Jack’s goose needs tending, and so do the troll’s three billy goats. Mayhem ensues as Bob and Rex lose—or never gain—control over the lot when three pigs drop by to hand off “Our—um—puppy.” Or wolf, which huffs and puffs and “BLEW THE HOUSE DOWN!!!!” Bob is now homeless as well as poor. He keeps his cool, for he still has the beans. “ ‘I’ll be a gardener!’…What could possibly go wrong?” Corderoy’s thin narrative rests on an appreciation of upside-down slapstick and a knowledge of the tales, and it is fully fueled by the rumbustious illustrations.

The story cries out for an overpowered reading, which is as likely to provoke a brawl as laughter. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68010-064-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Sweet fare for bed- or naptimes, with a light frosting of natural history.

WOODLAND DREAMS

A sonorous, soporific invitation to join woodland creatures in bedding down for the night.

As in her Moon Babies, illustrated by Amy Hevron (2019), Jameson displays a rare gift for harmonious language and rhyme. She leads off with a bear: “Come home, Big Paws. / Berry picker / Honey trickster / Shadows deepen in the glen. / Lumber back inside your den.” Continuing in the same pattern, she urges a moose (“Velvet Nose”), a deer (“Tiny Hooves”), and a succession of ever smaller creatures to find their nooks and nests as twilight deepens in Boutavant’s woodsy, autumnal scenes and snow begins to drift down. Through each of those scenes quietly walks an alert White child (accompanied by an unusually self-controlled pooch), peering through branches or over rocks at the animals in the foregrounds and sketching them in a notebook. The observer’s turn comes round at last, as a bearded parent beckons: “This way, Small Boots. / Brave trailblazer / Bright stargazer / Cabin’s toasty. Blanket’s soft. / Snuggle deep in sleeping loft.” The animals go unnamed, leaving it to younger listeners to identify each one from the pictures…if they can do so before the verses’ murmurous tempo closes their eyes.

Sweet fare for bed- or naptimes, with a light frosting of natural history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7063-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Too many bugs, figuratively.

LUCY'S LIGHT

Lucy, “the youngest member of a family of fireflies,” must overcome an irrational, moon-induced anxiety in order to leave her family tree trunk and glow.

The first six pages pull readers into a lush, beautiful world of nighttime: “When the sun has set, silence falls over the Big Forest, and all of the nighttime animals wake up.” Mixed media provide an enchanting forest background, with stylized flora and fauna eventually illuminated by a large, benign moon, because the night “doesn’t like to catch them by surprise.” Turning the page catches readers by surprise, though: the family of fireflies is decidedly comical and silly-looking. Similarly, the text moves from a lulling, magical cadence to a distinct shift in mood as the bugs ready themselves for their foray into the night: “They wave their bottoms in the air, wiggle their feelers, take a deep, deep breath, and sing, ‘Here we go, it’s time to glow!’ ” It’s an acceptable change, but more unevenness follows. Lucy’s excitement about finally joining the other bugs turns to “sobbing” two nights in a row. Instead of directly linking her behavior to understandable reactions of children to newness, the text undermines itself by making Lucy’s parents’ sweet reassurances impotent and using the grandmother’s scientific explanation of moonlight as an unnecessary metaphor. Further detracting from the story, the text becomes ever denser and more complex over the book’s short span.

Too many bugs, figuratively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-84-16147-00-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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