Just as purposive as the runaway bestseller but significantly more palatable.

DOZY BEAR AND THE SECRET OF SLEEP

Following on the unearned success of Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin’s The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep (2015), a slightly more artful take on the same relaxation techniques.

Dozy Bear crawls into his den every night, thinks of all the other animals who are fast asleep, but evidently cannot fall asleep himself. Dozy’s family coaxes him in turn to somnolence. Mama tells him to close his eyes and “snuggle down”; Papa takes him through a physical relaxation sequence; Nana impresses on him how soft his bed is; and Grampy tells him to listen to the quiet of the night. Certain key words are italicized, cuing adult readers to emphasize them: “He’d think of all the other / animals, fast asleep….” Variations on the word “sleep” appear some 30 times, along with other suggestive words such as “snoring,” “settle,” and “stillness.” Dozy’s mama leads him through some deep breathing (“Deep, long breaths, innn—and—ouuuuuut, / innn—and—ouuuuuut, innn—and—ouuuuuut”), which finally renders Dozy “a little bundle of sleep.” Smythe’s twilight-colored collage illustrations look as though they’ve been tinted with watercolor and then scribbled over with crayon, giving them a childlike feel. Poor composition and the choice to make Dozy and his family virtually indistinguishable from one another result in some illustrations that will puzzle readers who haven’t already conked out.

Just as purposive as the runaway bestseller but significantly more palatable. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-256426-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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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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