SLEEPY, THE GOODNIGHT BUDDY

Will a goodnight buddy help restless Roderick fall asleep?

The opening text cuts to the chase and declares, “Roderick hated going to bed.” Campbell’s accompanying watercolor illustration shows a pajama-clad boy with his back to readers (and parents). He looks away from his toys and casts a defiant look over his shoulder at his parents, whose bodies are only partially visible on the page as they loom over him. Humorous text and art proceed to share his various stalling techniques, including his intentional provocation of a litany of “reasons why he couldn’t have a pony.” Roderick is resistant when his parents introduce him to Sleepy, “a goodnight buddy to help him sleep.” The stuffed animal looks like a cross between a bear and a moose with enormous eyes that stare at Roderick until he finally tosses him in his closet. He’s shocked and exclaims, “You’re alive!” when Sleepy protests. Sleepy then turns the tables on Roderick and wears him out with a series of demands and protestations against going to sleep. Lo and behold, an exhausted Roderick finally collapses in his bed, but not before Sleepy’s antics and Roderick’s responses to them can delight readers—though some may object to a cheap attempt for laughs when Roderick reads aloud a book entitled The Witch’s Booty, about “a witch with a very big butt,” and a rapid-fire barrage of variants on “freak” in the dialogue. Roderick is a pink-skinned, big-eyed boy with a mop of dark curls.

Bedtime-bookshelf fodder. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-8969-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

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 KEEPS THE SUN UP

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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