While this story treads familiar territory, it radiates warmth and sincerity to ease readers into a peaceful night’s rest.

LITTLE OWL'S BEDTIME

A sweet and comforting bedtime tale for little ones.

It’s “late o’clock,” and Little Owl’s mother is snuggling him into bed. He refuses to sleep and attempts to postpone the inevitable in various, expected ways. Children will relate to his stalling tactics, which include asking for another story, declaring a fear of the dark, and misplacing his beloved stuffed toy Hedge. Mommy Owl patiently handles these diversions with clever responses that soothe her little one. She gently comforts him by turning the sources of his distress into imaginative scenes of whimsy. These charming depictions display as double-page spreads; they stand out through the use of color and provide a nice contrast in perspective next to the bedtime scenes, which mostly unfurl in vignettes and full-page images. Little Owl finally settles down to sleep after he replicates Mommy’s supportive routine with Hedge. Curiously, this owl family goes to bed at night, which even young readers will recognize as unusual for most of the species. Still, this minor discrepancy may be overlooked by readers and doesn’t detract from the overall message of the reassuring effects of unconditional parental love.

While this story treads familiar territory, it radiates warmth and sincerity to ease readers into a peaceful night’s rest. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0449-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young...

THE BIGGEST KISS

This title previously published in the U.K. takes a cozy look at all kinds of kisses.

Walsh’s rhyming text is full of cutesy rhythms: “Kisses on noses, kisses on toes-es. Sudden kisses when you least supposes.” Sometimes the phrasing stumbles: “Who likes to kiss? I do! I do! Even the shy do. Why not try, too?” But toddlers and young preschoolers will probably not mind. They will be too engaged in spotting the lively penguin on each spread and too charmed by Abbot’s winsome illustrations that fittingly extend the wording in the story. Patient dogs queue up for a smooch from a frog prince, cool blue “ ’normous elephants” contrast strikingly with bright red “little tiny ants” and a bewildered monkey endures a smattering of lipstick kisses. Be the kiss small or tall, one to start or end the day, young readers are reminded that “the very best kiss… / is a kiss from you!” Perhaps no big surprise but comforting nonetheless.

Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young tyke or sharing with a gathering for storytime.     (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2769-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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An adventurous treat of a bedtime story.

BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES

A patient mother with a healthy sense of whimsy helps prepare her headstrong toddler for bed.

The story opens with a toddler, fists raised into the air, proclaiming, “No! No! No!” Thank goodness this not-at-the-moment-sweet creature’s mother is patient and creative as she corrals her child into a bedtime routine that may feel familiar to many readers. The words and behaviors of the child evading bed are translated into animal sounds and behaviors: wide-eyed and asking “Who? Who?” like an owl; shaking hair and roaring like a lion; hanging on for a hug like a koala. And, of course, the requisite leaving bed for a last trip to the bathroom and drink, like a human child. Zunon’s art takes this book to the next level: Her portrayals of the animals mentioned in the text are colorful and full of intriguing patterns and shapes. Additionally, the expressions on the faces of the mother, child, and animals speak volumes, portraying the emotions of each. Arguably, the sweetest part of the story comes at the end, when the child asks to sleep with Mommy and Dad. Though the mother sighs, the child climbs in, along with “owl, bear, snake, kitty, fawn, squirrel, koala, tiger, wolf.” (Readers attuned to details will notice the father’s look of delight at the parade of animals.) All characters are Black.

An adventurous treat of a bedtime story. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3832-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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