While a goodnight book needn’t—shouldn’t—be stimulating or exciting, the market is so saturated with such reading material...

THE SILVER MOON

LULLABIES AND CRADLE SONGS

A collection of rhymes for the very young falls smack in the middle of twee territory.

Prelutsky’s simple, consistent rhymes could prove pleasing to sleepy ears, but accompanying digital art by Ishida adds little to the collection. Many of the rhymes list various creatures or items, and the illustrations prove reiterative of the text, failing to build upon them to create something new. Granted, the redundancy between art and text could provoke something of an I Spy sort of game, prompting readers to point to those things named in the text, but page after page without an overriding sense of cohesion reads like a missed opportunity. Added to this flaw is the saccharine sensibility of the collection, populated by round, planar forms in soft colors that accompany rhyme after rhyme, each concluding with go-to-sleep messages. Backmatter includes sheet music for four of the lullaby rhymes, which is a nice added touch to a book that otherwise seems rather undistinguished.

While a goodnight book needn’t—shouldn’t—be stimulating or exciting, the market is so saturated with such reading material that new titles need to add something special to rise above the rest: This doesn’t. (Picture book. 0-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-201467-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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THE CROSSOVER

Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween.

TEENY TINY GHOST

This board book twists the traditional “Teeny Tiny” tale into a less-scary Halloween treat.

This version uses a singsong-y rhythm and cadence to tell the story. “In the teeny tiny barn / Of a teeny tiny house... / Lived a teeny tiny ghost / and a teeny tiny mouse.” Of course the ghost (being teeny tiny) is not very frightening. “But the determined little ghost / Let her mighty courage through / And with a teeny tiny breath / She said a teeny tiny: boo.” Spoiler alert: After just seven page turns the ghost and mouse become friends: “And now the teeny tinies play / In the teeny tiny house. / Just a teeny tiny ghost / And her best friend, mouse.” Pumpkins decorate the cover and final spread and illustrations throughout are in autumnal hues. The fairly high-for-the-format word count—19 to 21 words per page—may be more than toddlers will sit still for, but the “teeny tiny” repetition and rhymes will help. The size (just 6 inches square) makes using the book with a group a challenge, but with a lap-sitting child, it’ll be a pleasure.

A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31848-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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