THE LITTLE SLEEPYHEAD

This little sleepyhead is an urchin with wild hair and an imp’s mien, and he wants to sleep after playing all day. He tries the grass, but bugs tickle him. Squirrels hug branches, but he finds trees bumpy; frogs dream on lily pads, but he just gets wet. After each trial comes the call and response: “Did he sleep? No!” When he cuddles up next to a bear and the bear snores, Little Sleepyhead shouts that he wants quiet and wants to sleep. So doing, he wakes up everybody. The beavers began chewing down trees, the crash startles the birds, whose feathers fly about into a soft pile, and—there it is: a bed! But Little Sleepyhead still isn’t comfy. Along comes a lamb, he holds out his arms, and the lamb snuggles inside them. And did lamb and boy sleep? YES! Gore’s beautifully luminescent images go from the colors of late afternoon to early evening in a world that is “so young that all the rocks were little pebbles.” And the last sentence makes it perfect for that last story before bed. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-525-46956-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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I CAN BE ANYTHING!

A young boy wonders aloud to a rabbit friend what he will be when he grows up and imagines some outrageous choices. “Puddle stomper,” “bubble gum popper,” “mixing-bowl licker,” “baby-sis soother” are just some of the 24 inspiringly creative vocations Spinelli’s young dreamer envisions in this pithy rhymed account. Aided by Liao’s cleverly integrated full-bleed mixed-media illustrations, which radiate every hue of the rainbow, and dynamic typesetting with words that swoop and dive, the author’s perspective on this adult-inspired question yields some refreshingly child-oriented answers. Given such an irresistible array of options—“So many jobs! / They’re all such fun”—the boy in the end decides, in an exuberant double gatefold, “I’m going to choose… / EVERY ONE!”—a conclusion befitting a generation expected to have more than six careers each. Without parents or peers around to corral this carefree child’s dreams, the possibilities of being whatever one wants appear both limitless and attainable. An inspired take on a timeless question. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-16226-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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