A luminous allegory that celebrates the necessity of connection.

NIGHT OUT

A lonely child’s dream of a joyous party with animal friends becomes a bridge to friendship with other children.

Miyares’ lovely gouache-and-pencil compositions set the scene: In the dining hall of an imposing boarding school, a sad child sits apart. In their dorm room, beside a shadowy row of sleeping kids, the wakeful child’s face is illuminated by moonlight. Nearby, a pet turtle seems about to escape its fishbowl terrarium. The dream begins with a formal invitation—sealing wax and all—propped against the now-empty fishbowl. As a glorious full moon beckons, the child, suddenly clothed in red-flannel shirt and jeans and wearing a backpack, escapes out the window to a waiting bike and helmet. The journey through woods to sea is lushly depicted, and the turtle, now huge, ferries the child to a cave full of welcoming animals. Fox, goose, hare, bear, and owl treat the child to tea, sweets, and music: Each plays an instrument as turtle claps and the child dances. “A night out ends, / as a new day breaks.” After being carried back ashore, the child bikes back to school and clambers into bed. A final spread shows the child in pajamas, small-again turtle in hand, regaling five roommates; the final endpapers show them eating together. The protagonist has pale skin and straight, black hair in a cropped cut, and their classmates display a variety of skin tones and hair textures.

A luminous allegory that celebrates the necessity of connection. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6572-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child.

ALWAYS WITH YOU, ALWAYS WITH ME

Grammy-winning, multiplatinum singer/songwriter Rowland teams up with California teacher McKay to celebrate busy moms.

This picture book highlights a mother’s frequent longing to be with her child when life’s demands pull them apart. The story takes us through a busy Black mom’s week: She goes to work (at a construction site where she appears to be an engineer), works from home on her son’s sick day, takes him to a museum, and shares domestic duties with her Black male partner, who is a nurse. She encounters many bumps in the road that will be familiar to working parents. Each day, she gently reassures her son with a lyrical refrain: “Always with you, / Always with me, / Mommy and child / Together we’ll be.” This tender story, narrated in the voice of a mother addressing her child, pulls at the heartstrings. Liem’s digital artwork uses a warm palette and has a calming quality. The characters’ body language and heartfelt facial expressions are spot-on. This book will resonate with any mom who knows the heartache of having to say goodbye to their child or who has faced the teary-eyed frustration of a youngster experiencing separation anxiety. Young readers, on the other hand, will find solace in the reassuring narrative. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46551-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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