This book makes the most of its dual audience.

OLIVE THE SHEEP CAN'T SLEEP

A bedtime book with parenting tips to help kids get the sleep they need.

This handsomely designed Portuguese import features the adorable, fluffy sheep Olive, whose mother helps her overcome sleeplessness after a long day of play. A frontmatter “Note for Grown-Ups” introduces the book’s reliance on neuroscience research to help improve children’s sleeping habits, and backmatter “Bedtime Tips” offer an overview of the ideas introduced in the book proper. These same tips are embedded in Olive’s story as her mother finds different ways to soothe her little lamb and help her ready her body and mind for rest with: a bath, deep breathing, cuddling, warm milk, soothing imagery, and so on. The somewhat flat aesthetic of Silva’s digital illustrations doesn’t undermine their cuddly appeal, since the forms are rounded and lines curved. Movement from a bright palette to a more subdued one as Olive settles in for the night provides a logical, calming visual shift for sleepy readers. While none of the advice reads as revolutionary, having it integrated into a story could aid children in calming themselves at bedtime while affirming caregivers’ nurturing efforts to support them. It’s as purposive as The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep but both gentler and more artful.

This book makes the most of its dual audience. (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-838-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Bright, cheerful, and summery.

HOORAY FOR SUNNY DAYS!

Revel in the pleasures of summer days.

The text’s three rhyming quatrains extol the season’s joys, from “birds in leafy trees” and “happy bees” to “eating berry pie” and “twinkling fireflies.” Cottage-dwelling woodland mammals get the full digital cartoon treatment, with giant eyes, exuberantly bushy tails, and bright clothing, hats, and eyewear. Readers see them enjoying a range of outdoor activities, from picnicking and splashing around in a pond to running barefoot in the grass and lounging in a hammock. The adorable diminutive mammals are the stars of the book, but the lively insects and birds make their presences felt too. This simple but sweet addition to the ever expanding bookshelf of estival books for younger children is more about imagery than plot, but that’s OK. The rhymes scan well, and the anaphoric repetition lends itself to read-alouds. The consistently double-page, full-bleed spreads allow readers to sense the scope of summer’s bounty. The artwork’s palette tracks the day’s arc, with morning yellows and greens ceding to violets and blues as twilight falls. Longhi’s illustrations fairly sparkle with light and Lisa Frank–esque colors. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Bright, cheerful, and summery. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66591-241-9

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end.

BYE-BYE BINKY

From the Big Kid Power series

This book seeks to use the power of persuasion to vanquish that most formidable of opponents: toddlers.

In this entry in the Big Kid Power series, a little black girl makes no bones about the fact that pacifiers (or “binkies”) are strictly baby territory. When she was little she needed one, but that was then. Whether she’s tired, sad, or hungry, there are other ways of being comforted: hugs and polite requests, for instance. After she gives her binky to a baby and bids it a very clear goodbye, the book ends with a triumphant, “I’M A BIG KID!” Using a striking color combination of orange, brown, and black, van Lieshout keeps her pages bold and bright, complementing the simple vocabulary. Such declarations as, “Do I still have a binky? // NO, BIG KIDS DON’T NEED A BINKY. / NOPE!” leave scant wiggle room for argument. In her author’s note at the end, van Lieshout says that after speaking to many parents about how they helped their kids bid their pacifiers adieu, “many of them had in common…a ritual of some sort.” The ritual here seems to be giving the pacifier away, though it may be missed by many readers. Companion title I Use the Potty uses a similar approach, with a proud, white boy as its guide.

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3536-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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